Volleyball: Malkia Strikers wary of home support in Yaoundé, would prefer North Africans
Wisa: Better Egypt than Cameroon
Kenya star middle-blocker hopes to avoid Cameroon in semi-finals of African Nations Cup-cum-World Championship qualifiers.
On-form national women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, middle-blocker Edith Wisa would prefer to face their perennial rivals Egypt in semifinals of the ongoing African Nations Cup-cum-World Championship qualifiers rather than hosts Cameroon.
Wisa, who scooped the best blocker award after inspiring Kenya Prisons to a third-place finish at the 2017 African Club championship in April, in Tunisia, is enjoying the form of her life.
The wardress has been voted twice the woman of the match after propelling Kenya into Friday’s semifinals with a match to go.
The nine-time champions saw off Nigeria 3-0 (25-16, 25-8, 25-10) in their opening Group B match at Palais des Sports Hall in Yaoundé on Saturday before Wisa and captain Mercy Moim scored 15 points each to silence a determined Senegal by straight sets (25-21, 28-26, 25-15) the following day.
It is against the Senegalese side that Wisa showed her prowess on the blocks and single handedly won the second set for Kenya after they had gone down 19-24.
She put on another master class on Monday, hitting 13 points as Malkia demolished Democratic Republic of Congo 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-12) and consequently secured a semifinal's berth with a game to spare. The defending champions were due to play with Tunisia last evening.
But even as the unbeaten Egypt and hosts Cameroon clash in their final Group B match tonight (10pm), the middle-blocker insists she would be happier to avoid the latter in the last four.
“Both Cameroon and Egypt are tough teams and are capable of causing an upset. So, I cannot really choose whom to meet in the semis but I would prefer Egypt over Cameroon because of the latter’s home ground advantage factor,” Wisa told Standard Sports on phone.
Commenting on their second match win against Senegal, Wisa said: “We didn’t expect Senegal to give us a stiff challenge, but they proved us wrong. We had to dig deep and get the victory. In the second set, my inner spirit pushed me and eventually helped the team win it.”
Wisa’s sentiments were echoed by head coach Japheth Munala, who tipped the Senegalese team to reach the finals.
“We are yet to play to our standards, but I am happy the three wins have given us a semifinals slot. I think Senegal is the team to watch.I would not be surprised to see them in finals,” said Munala.
“Wisa is doing very well both in blocks and centré attack not forgetting her accurate services. She solely denied Senegal the second set.”
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