Kenya stun Algeria: Africa champions head to Croatia for second round of volleyball Grand Prix

Kenya national team continued their dominance over Algeria after they eased past the North Africans with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-13) set win in a Group Three Pool Q match of the FIVB Grand Prix in Mexico yesterday.

The result means that Kenya conclude a satisfying Pool Q intercontinental round with a 2-1 win-loss record and seven points, while Algeria finish winless and with one point.
The statistics tell the story, with Kenya leading the spiking 39-19 and the blocking 14-4.

Kenya’s Lydia Maiyo led the scoring with 17 points, followed by Evelyn Makuto with 11 and Captain Bracksides Khadambi with 10.
After the Mexico matches, Kenyans fly direct to Croatia where they play second round matches against hardened teams namely Kazakhstan, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Australia.

The top four teams in the competition advance to the final round that will be staged in Bulgaria.
Khadambi said her team is aiming for a strong performance in the Grand Prix.
“Our goal is to finish on top and be among the final four,” said Khadambi.

crucial win

“Today we take an important victory. We have faced Algeria so many times that we are very familiar with what they can do, but they now have a younger team and are developing,” she said after playing Algeria.

Algeria’s captain Lydia Oulmou said: “We expected the match to be tough and there is no surprise in the result, Kenya is an experienced team, unlike ours.

Kenya coach David Lungaho said: “Winning is always important and the team is gaining international exposure. Yes we won, but we didn’t perform our best and as the Grand Prix moves to the next stage, our opponents will be stronger and the team needs to ensure a better performance.

Past meetings

Kenya and Algeria last met in a competitive match at the 2013 African Championship, when the East Africans beat their opponents 3-1.

Algeria’s Kahina Arbouche sees her attempt blocked by Kenyan Lydia Maiyo and Pracksides Agala during the FIVB Grand Prix in Mexico. [PHOTO:FIVB]

In 2007 and 2011, these teams met in the final of the African Championship. Kenya won both finals, which were held in Nairobi, and they repeated that feat in Mexico City on Sunday.
During their meeting in Mexico, Kenya moved into an early 10-4 lead in the first set, with Mercy Moim looking strong as Algeria struggled with their defensive line.

Despite some good attacking work from Mouni Abderrahim, Safia Boukhima and Chettout Kahina, Kenya’s aggressiveness over the net was unstoppable as they took the first set 25-14.
Algeria started well in set two, with Aicha Mezemate and Tassadit Aissou finding their rhythm to block Moim, producing several points to lead by 8-5.

But Kenya’s captain Bracksides Khadambi and Lydia Maiyo responded well as Kenya fought back strongly. Everlyne Makuto was causing particular problems, not only scoring crucial points, but testing Algeria’s receiving players with her serves.

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