Beach Volleyball: For Kenyan players, it’s one step at a time in qualifiers

By Ernest Ndunda: Monday, December 30th 2019 at 11:51 GMT +3 | Volleyball and Handball
Kenya National Beach Volleyball team players Gaudencia Makokha (left) and Naomi Too (right). [PHOTO BY GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD]

For the Kenya national beach volleyball team, there’s no time to lose as they seek to be among teams in next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

Granted, none of them has met the required mandatory of 11 FIVB homologated competition points between 2018 and December 2019, but that will not deter them from fighting for a place in the Summer Games.

The six players, who are in a residential camp in Mombasa, will seek to make everything right when they compete in the Africa Zone Five sub- zonal 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers set for next week in Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

The Kenyan players need to grab the top two positions at the Tanzanian first round qualifiers set for January 7-9 to advance to the second round. With that, they will gain more points and be sure of playing the Olympics.

The team’s coach Sammy Mulinge said his only worry is missing the services of the injured Naomi Too.

The veteran, who will be out of action for six months, is the top ranked Kenyan player.

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“We have Yvonne Wavinya, Loice Chepkosgei and Brackcides Agala (Prisons), Gaudencia Makokha (Kenya Pipeline), Metrine Nabwile and Phosca Kasisi (KCB), who need exposure to enable them meet the mandatory 11 competitive circuits,” said Mulinge.

If Kenya qualifies for the second round set for between February and March, Mulinge said the players will compete in FIBV sanctioned tournaments.

The six-member team will be whittled down to four ahead of their departure to Tanzania on January 7.

Other teams taking part in the qualifiers are Rwanda, Uganda and hosts Tanzania.

Speaking yesterday at the team’s training base at Mombasa Continental Beach Hotel, Mulinge said Too got injured during the national volleyball trials at Kasarani.

However, the tactician said he is confident the team is capable of finishing tops and inch closer to qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo between July 25 and August 9.

Kenya is ranked sixth in Africa.

Meanwhile, Kenyan men beach volleyball team booked their qualification ticket to the second round of the CAVB Continental Cup after they finished second in last week’s Africa Zone Five Sub zonal phase of the competition held in Entebbe, Uganda.

Tanzania’s Dark Horses surprised their opponents to win their matches against Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.

Kenya finished second with 2-1 win-loss ratio.

Sudan were third with a win loss ratio of 1-2 ahead of hosts Uganda, who were last in the rankings with a 0-3 record.

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