|Kenya's volleyball team during their match against Mozambique.Photo/DENNIS OKEYO|
The National men and women’ teams were all beaten, at home, in campaign to the FIVB World Championships last April.
These were the first international events to involve Kenya this year.
And as if that was not enough, Kenya Prisons lost the African Club Championships crown that they had won five times, including four in a row.
The results left fans wondering whether the Kenyan volleyball was dropping in form.
But the performance of the national women’s team in the ongoing FIVB Group 3 Grand Prix Championships in Mexico has proved otherwise.
Kenyan team that is coached by David Lung’aho and deputized by Japheth Munala have won two out of their three matches to win back the hearts of fans.
The teams 3-1 ((25-18, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22) ) victory against hosts Mexico was the most important off all since this was the first time that Lung’aho charges had beaten a team from outside Africa.
The victory also placed Kenya as the first country from Africa to win a Grand Prix match.
Algeria was the first African country to participate in the tournament but they lost all their matches last year.
The bad omen is still following Algeria since they have again lost all their three matches in the first round of the competition.
In the ongoing event, Kenya defeated the Algerians 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-13) Pool Q to bring their win-loss record to 2-1 in the tournament.
Kenya’s defeat of the tournament came when they went down 2-3 (20-25, 25-23, 24-26, 26-24, 12-15) against Mexico last Sunday.
The result means that Kenya conclude a satisfying Pool Q intercontinental round with a 2-1 win-loss record and seven points, while Algeria finish winless and with one point.
Kenyan captain Brackcides Khadambi said their goal is to finish among the top four teams in Grand Prix.
“Our goal is to finish on top and be among the final four,” said Khadambi.
About their victory against Algeria, she said: “We have faced Algeria so many times that we are very familiar with what they can do, but they now have a younger team and are developing.”
Kenya and Algeria last met in a competitive match at the 2013 African Championship, when the tournament’s eventual winners, Kenya, beat their opponents 3-1.
In 2007 and 2011 these teams met in the final of the African Championship. Kenya won both finals, which were held in Nairobi, and they repeated that feat in Mexico City on Sunday.
Despite the two victories, Lung’aho believes that the second round of the competition would be even tougher since Kenya will meet stronger opposition.
“Winning is always important and the team is gaining international exposure. Yes we won, but we didn’t perform our best and as the Grand Prix moves to the next stage, our opponents will be stronger and the team needs to ensure a better performance.”
Kenyan team now moves to Croatia where they play second round matches against hardened sides like Kazakhstan, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Australia.
Looking at the performance of the National team in Grand Prix, there is no doubt that Kenyan volleyball was again on the rise.