Uhuru heaps praise on Malkia Strikers following Olympics qualification
By Dennis Okeyo
| January 10th 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta has congratulated the national women volleyball team Malkia Strikers, for qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after a streak of four impressive wins in the qualifiers held in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The President termed the team's qualification, after 16 years of waiting, as a showcase of Kenya's rising profile as an African sporting powerhouse and assured the team of the Government's continued support as they prepare for the summer games.
Malkia Strikers reigned supreme yesterday in Yaoundé, Cameroon by thrashing Nigeria 3-0 to secure the lone African ticket to Tokyo Olympics Games set for July.
The Paul Bitok-coached team needed to beat Nigeria to be 100 percent certain of qualifying for Tokyo Olympics Games that is set to start on July 24 – August 9 after having seen off arch-rivals Cameroon on Tuesday night.
The squad led by veteran Mercy Moim and dependable left attacker Sharon Chepchumba fired attacks to ensure Kenya got the straight-sets victory of 25-15, 25-21, 25-12 against the Nigerians.
After sweeping Nigeria aside, Kenya completed the clean sweep at the championship that saw them defeat Egypt 3-1, whip Botswana 3-0 before winning the five-set thriller against hosts Cameroon 3-2, a match which was dubbed ‘decisive.’
Kenya started the match against Nigeria yesterday on a high leading the West African 11-2 before winning the first set 25-15.
On restart the Kenyan girls picked the game from where they left, leading 4-1 before the Nigerians stepped up to tie the scores at 5-5. Nigeria then stubbornly pushed the Kenyans throughout the set before eventually falling to the African Games champions 25-21.
In the third set, Kenya raced to a 14-7 lead against the Nigerians coached by Samuel Ajayi before emerging victorious 25- 12.
Kenya last featured at the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympic Games where they finished 11th on both events but failed to qualify for the Games in 2008 (Beijing), 2012 (London) and 2016 (Rio).
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