African Games: Owino praises her players for good show in Rabat
Kenya women’s beach volleyball team left the ongoing 12th edition of the African Games with heads held high despite falling short at the last hurdle to gold medal winners Egypt 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) in Tuesday’s finals in Rabat, Morocco.
No one gave Gaudencia Makokha and Naomi Too a chance when the tournament served off last Thursday.
But motivated by their bronze medal triumph at the inaugural Africa Beach Games in Sal, Cape Verde in June, the Kenya Pipeline pair showed character to top Group B with an unbeaten record.
They went on to put up a spirited fight to overcome the 2015 champions Nigeria 2-1 (20-22, 21-19, 17-15) in the quarterfinals then thrashed Mozambique with straights before eventually bagging Kenya’s first ever silver medal in beach volleyball.
This was an improved performance from the Kenyan team after Margaret Indakala and Dorcas Ndasaba bronze medal triumph at the 2011 competition in Mozambique followed by Edna Rotich and Eunice Maiyo fourth-placed finish in Congo Brazzaville (2015).
Even though, coach Patrick Owino was somehow disappointed with the final result, he is still proud of his girls’ excellent performance in the championship as they shift focus to the upcoming Zonal Olympic qualifiers.
"It’s not a mission accomplished but I am contented with the impressive performance that led to our improved position. I am proud of the girls since they have shown that they can do it,” Owino told Standard Sports on phone.
“We'll work on our areas of weaknesses as observed during the championship in preparation for the Olympic qualifying circuits.”
Just like her coach, Makokha is pleased with their achievement in Morocco.
"I feel we had the best team to win the gold medal but we are happy to have a silver for now,” said Makokha.
“The positive thing is that we keep on improving in each and every championship. We had the bronze in Africa Beach Games and now a silver in African Games, I believe we will win gold in the next championship.”
Makokha, who was part of the Malkia Strikers team ‘B’ that lifted the women’s title in Congo Brazzaville, feels their team is on the right track.
“We just had a few mistakes but we hope to work on them before the next championship. Well, we aren’t in bad shape because we just lost one match so that’s means we are in a good position as a team,” she added. The team is expected back on Sunday.
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