Kenya safely navigated through a couple of challenges from Algeria to claim a record ninth continental women volleyball crown, following an exciting contest at the Safaricom Indoor Arena in Nairobi on Saturday.
This result, a 3-0 sets triumph of 25-17, 25-21 and 25-18 scores, consequently guaranteed Kenya an unprecedented third qualification to the FIVB World Cup set for Japan in September.
In a curtain raiser match played earlier at the same venue, Cameroon edged Senegal 3-2 (25-19, 23-25, 14-25, 25-13 and 17-15) to claim third place.
The National Oil-sponsored Kenya side also grabbed a majority of the individual awards at the ten-day event.
Everylne Makuto was voted the tournament’s most valuable player (MVP), Janet Wanja (best setter), Ruth Jepngetich (best blocker), and Elizabeth Wanyama (best libero).
“We fought hard for all this, God is great,” Makuto said.
Senegal’s Fatou Diock was voted the best attacker with the best receiver’s award taken by Algeria’s Basokou Abrouche.
“Kenya now holds all the volleyball records on the continent,” the public announcer explained during the medal ceremony.
The 82 minute finale was played out before an estimated 7,000 expectant crowd that had squeezed in to the 5,000 facility that included Sports CS Hassan Wario.
David Lung’aho’s charges encountered nervy moments especially in the final set when the North Africans, powered on by Mezmate Aicha and Oukazi Fatima accumulated an 18-14 lead and threatened to clinch the set.
It took the technical bench’s intervention, and the subsequent introduction of Jane Wanja and Triza Atuka to salvage the situation.
“I think that Kenya is too much for us now, I was missing two dependable players but still we cannot dislodge them for at least the next one year,” Algeria’s Italian coach François Salvagni said.
Source: Daily Nation