Malkia Strikers inch closer to defending volleyball title as national basketball team finishes fourth after losing to Congo

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Tuesday, August 27th 2019 at 09:38 GMT +3 | Basketball
Kenya's Trizah Atuka during their Olympic qualifying match in Puerta Rico on Friday May 20, 2016. [PHOTO: FIVB]

National women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers are on the verge of defending their African Games title if yesterday’s routine straight sets victory over Senegal in Rabat, Morocco is anything to go by.

The record African champions used less than one hour to convincingly beat the West Africans (25-11, 25-15 and 25-12) to book their place in tomorrow’s semifinals.

The victory, their second in the tournament after Saturday’s 3-1 win against their rivals Cameroon, saw the Paul Bitok’s side finish top of Group B on an unbeaten record.

“I’m very happy with the performance of the team so far. However, those wins are in the past now; our next match matters most, therefore, as we head to semifinals, I would like to encourage my team to remain focused and avoid any complacency,” said Bitok.

Bitok started with a strong line-up comprising captain Mercy Moim, experienced setter Janet Wanja, Noel Murambi, Trizah Atuka, Sharon Chepchumba and Agrippina Kundu.

He made changes as the game progressed to keep every player fit ahead of the knock-out stages.

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Cameroon have also qualified for the last four following their opening day straight sets triumph over Senegal, who drop to the ranking matches.

Kenya are likely to meet either Seychelles or Nigeria in the semifinals tomorrow. 

Morocco and Nigeria were due to face off last night in a decisive top of the group encounter.

Meanwhile, Kenya women’s 3x3 basketball team missed out on a podium finish after losing 21-10 to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Sunday’s third-place playoff of the ongoing African Games, in Rabat.

The youthful trio of Daisy Ayodi, Caroline Njeri and Christine Akinyi was on the verge of making history after an impressive run at the inaugural discipline at the games, only for Congolese Alliance Sungulia, Kayolo Mangenza and Louange Luzenga to shatter their bronze medals’ dreams.

But Njeri had something to smile about after being recognised as the best shooter in the women’s category following her three-point shooting prowess.

Kenya overcame Tunisia 16-13 to book a semifinal date with eventual tournament winners Nigeria, who thrashed them 16-6.

Nigeria went on to lift the inaugural 3×3 women’s basketball title after beating Mali 21-20 in the final on Sunday. The tournament attracted 10 men’s teams and 12 women’s sides.

The men’s team exited the competition in the preliminary round without a single win.

Kenya’s Salim Kisilu, Fidel Okoth and George Ouma lost all their four Group B matches in the tournament.

The East African nation fell 15-19 to Morocco in their opening fixture before narrowly losing 17-16 to Equatorial Guinea. 

Kenya then suffered an identical 21-16 defeat to eventual champions Madagascar and Egypt.

Madagascar claimed the gold medal with a 21-19 victory over Egypt, while Nigeria beat Mali 20-19 to win the bronze medal.

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