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Defending African Games champs Kenya must win in Kampala to pick up Rabat ticket

12th African Games

(Rabat, Morocco: August 19-31 2019)

Africa Zone 5 qualifier:

(Lugogo Indoor Arena, Kampala: August 18-25)

Kenya women’s volleyball

SQUAD:

Setters:

1 Jane Wacu – (Anse Royale Club-Seychelles/Kenya Prisons)

2 Janet Wanja – (Kenya Pipeline Company)

Right Attackers:

3 Violet Makuto – (Kenya Commercial Bank)

4 Emmaculate Chemtai – (Kenya Prisons)

Left Attackers:

5 *Mercy Moim, captain– (Kenya Prisons)

6 Noel Marambii – (Kenya Commercial Bank)

7 Leonida Kasaya – (Kenya Commercial Bank)

8 Sharon Chepchumba – (Kenya Pipeline Company)

Centre blockers:

9 Trizah Atika – (Kenya Pipeline Company)

10 Lorine Chebet – (Kenya Commercial Bank)

11 Edith Wisa – (Kenya Prisons)

Libero:

12 Agripina Kundu ­– (Kenya Pipeline Company)

Advisor coach: Shailene Ramdoo – (Italy)

Assistant coach: Joseph Barasa – (Kenya)

Head coach: Japheth Munala – (Kenya)

KENYA women are the 11th African Games volleyball champions but to match the feat of 2015 in Congo Brazzaville, they must first navigate through an Africa Zone 5 qualifier in Kampala, Uganda beginning this weekend in order to earn a place in next edition of the continental games set for Rabat, Morocco between August 19 and 21.

The Kenya ‘Malkia Strikers’, as the team is known, must triumph in Uganda over stiff zonal opposition from at least Egypt; and maintain their traditional dominance over Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania. However, Rwanda are an improved nation. The qualifier runs from Sunday to August 24 at the Lugogo Indoor Arena. The Kenyans depart Nairobi tomorrow.

Top: Kenya national women’s volleyball team celebrates a point in a past tournament. Above: At the World Cup, Kenya jubilant at beating Kazakhstan, the first ever win in the championship

Top: Kenya national women’s volleyball team celebrates a point in a past tournament. Above: Kenya jubilant at beating Kazakhstan at the World Championships on September 28, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan

Head coach Japheth Munala, assistant coach Joseph Barasa and Italian advisor Shailene Ramdoo now have their 12 to take to Kampala, having whittled down from a provisional squad of 19 earlier named for preparations by Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) coaches commission on the sidelines of the Kitui Governor’s Cup tournament a fortnight ago.

The team is a blend of experience and upcoming talent, setter Jane Wacu, a professional based in Seychelles with Anse Royale (ARSU) Club and Kenya Pipeline Company’s long-serving Janet Wanja, commanding a combined experience of over three decades.

Seychelles-based professional Jane Wacu should be an asset in Kampala

Seychelles-based professional Jane Wacu should be an asset in Kampala

But with a bias towards experience in the quest for the sole zonal ticket to Rabat, there was no place for fancied setter Esther Mutinda of Kenya Pipeline and middle-blocker Gladys Ekaru — talent that graduated from Kwanthanze Secondary School last year.

Also in the team is seasoned Kenya Prisons left attacker and captain Mercy Moim, fast-rising Sharon Chepchumba who was feted best attacker at this year’s CAVB Women’s Volleyball Championship and KCB’s middle blocker Lorine Chebet.

Chepchumba and Chebet will be turning up for the second time in the national team after making their debut last year during World Championships held in Japan.

Wacu said the team was brimming with confidence and banking on the experienced squad to shine in Uganda.

“This is the best squad; a blend of youthful and experienced players. I think we will bag the right to represent Zone Five in Morocco. I believe after my stint in Seychelles I have something to offer and we are ready to face anyone,” she said.

The team has been training at the Kasarani Indoor Arena for the last two weeks with arrival of 52-year old Italian advisor Ramdoo, seconded to Kenya by FIVB to bolster the technical bench something Wacu says is a big shot in the arm to the team.

Winners' rostrum ... with the top Kenyan players involved in the World Cup, Kenya sent a second-string side to Congo Brazzaville for the 11th African Games women's tournament which the girls won 3-1 over Cameroon in the Final

Winners’ rostrum … with the top Kenyan players involved in the World Cup, Kenya sent a second-string side to Congo Brazzaville for the 11th African Games women’s tournament which the girls won 3-1 over Cameroon in the Final. Photo: MOHAMMED AMIN/Team Kenya

“He is helping us very much in terms of basics and every player is ready to learn because the game is evolving scientifically.” she added.

In the last African Games in Brazzaville, a second-string Kenya team shocked Cameroon to lift the Gold medal after a 3-1 (15-25, 25-14, 25-15, 25-19) win on September 14, 2019.

-Additional reporting by Kenya Volleyball Federation

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