Uganda leave Kenyans stunned: Qualification chances hang in balance after defeat

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Monday, July 24th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Volleyball and Handball
National volleyball team player Mike Chemos during their team training at Kasarani.Photo/DENNIS OKEYO

An opening loss in the World Championship and Africa Nations Cup qualifiers shocks the men's team.

The Kenya men's volleyball team's chances of qualifying for next year's World Championship and October's Africa Nations Cup hang in the balance after they suffered a shocking 3-2 (24-26, 21-25, 25-17, 26-24, 12-15) defeat to Uganda.

In their opening match of the 2017 CAVB Zone V World Championship qualifiers at the Amahoro Indoor Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, on Saturday, much was expected of the Kenyan team.

For many volleyball faithful, this was supposed to be another straightforward win.

The team, which travelled to Kigali by road, trailed the Ugandans in the first two sets (24-26, 21-25) before fighting back to win the third and fourth sets (25-17, 26-24), sending the tense game into a tie breaker.

However, Uganda capitalised on Kenya's poor blocks to claim the fifth set 15-12 and bag their first ever win over the Kenyans in 10 years.

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With only the top two teams from the four-nation round-robin tournament qualifying for the continental showpiece in Egypt, Rwanda's 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-17) victory against South Sudan on Saturday further complicated Kenya's chances.

"Our reception was okay; the biggest problem was the blocks. But I think our preparation also contributed to that loss because we trained together for only six days, which was not good enough for such a championship," team manager Ismail Chege told The Standard Sports from Kigali.

"From Day One's display, it is evident all other teams had enough time to train together."

Kenya was scheduled to face South Sudan in their second match yesterday evening.

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