Kenya staring elimination after defeat to Nigeria

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Thursday, August 30th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Volleyball and Handball
Kenya Junior Malkia Strikers Stacy Otieno (left) andEmmaculate Misiko block Elizabeth Ilesani of Nigeria during Women's U20 Africa Nations Volleyball Championship at the Kasarani Gymnasium on Wednesday August 29, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya U20 Women’s volleyball team is staring at an early elimination from the ongoing U20 Africa Nations Championship after suffering a shock 3-1 defeat to Nigeria at Kasarani Gymnasium, yesterday.

The youthful Malkia Strikers must now beat Group A leaders Cameroon by healthy set ratio in today’s 4pm crunch tie.

“In every game I believe you can win or lose. But I wasn’t expecting to lose to Nigeria and that means we must correct our mistakes for us to win against Cameroon and survive,” said Kenya coach Paul Gitau.

“We committed a lot of mistakes in attack and service that motivated our opponents. As a coach, I have taken the blame, but that’s not the end of the championships.

“The girls made mistakes but I can’t kill them. I’m happy they have learnt it the hard way.

“Both teams (Cameroon and Kenya) are under pressure, but I believe we are going to win.”

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Cameroon beat their West African rivals Nigeria 3-1 (25-17, 20-25,15-25, 20-25) in their first match before thrashing Tanzania by straight sets to set up a thrilling final preliminary round encounter against Kenya.

Record winners Egypt have advanced to the last four after winning all their opening three group B matches. The defending champions hammered both Uganda and Congo DRC by straight sets before overcoming Rwanda 3-1 (25-14, 16-25, 25-16,25-22).

The match started on a high tempo with both teams exchanging the leads in the first set before Kenya opened a two point lead (16-14) at the first Technical Time out before extending the lead 19-15 and 23-17 into the second and third TTOs respectively.

Kenya went on to pocket the first set 25-19 thanks to Miriam Ngweyo’s powerful spike.

However, the Nigerians responded swiftly capitalising on Kenya’s poor reception and service to win the second 26-24 and make the set score 1-1. This was after a series of neck to neck affair.

Just like the first two sets, both teams exchanged leads, but the West Africans showed a very good pace as the game progressed and eventually claimed the set 25-18 after Stacy Otieno’s poor spike.

Kenya came back into the fourth set a more rejuvenated side taking an 8-2 lead into the first  and second 16-12 TTOs respectively.

 However,poor attack and service cost them dearly as the hard fighting Nigerians rallied from behind to win the set 25-23.