Kenya will face Botswana in the second match of the Confederation of African women’s under-23 championship that serves off on Sunday at Safaricom Indoor Arena from 4 p.m.
It was determined in a technical meeting held by Kenya Volleyball Federation and representatives of participating nations on Saturday evening that the tournament would be played in a round robin format.
This decision was made after Tunisia pulled out of the competition. It is still unclear what repercussions await the side.
Kenya national team coach Catherine Mabwi believes that a solid start is key to their progression in the competition. “We have been training well for the better part of two months now so it is vital that we get the win in our first match. We are playing at home so that is a plus for us but we are going to take the match seriously,” she explained.
Her strategy is simple, to stun the opponents by pressing hard and blocking shots which they have been working on during training.
Ann Lowem, Yvonne Sinaida and captain Pauline Nafula are all middle blockers and will be tasked with thwarting spikes. Also on defensive call will be towering Beldine Akinyi.
KVF Secretary General Ben Juma has appealed to fans to turn up in large numbers and create a good atmosphere that will encourage the national team.
"As you all know, volleyball is one of the most peaceful sporting events in Kenya, therefore we hope our interaction during the event will help other federations learn a thing or two and possibly come up with ways of eradicating cases such as hooliganism in sports," Juma added.
Juma also assured fans of their security emphasizing that an elaborate plan has been put in place during the entire event.
Egypt coach Mohammed confident
Egypt’s national team head coach Ashour Mohammed is confident his team will win the competition.
Egypt team players arrived in the country on Saturday morning and were quick to go through their passes hours later at Kasarani under the stewardship of the no nonsense Mohammed who wanted his players to get a feel of the match venue.
Speaking to Sports News Arena after their training session, a bold Mohammed said, “Our goal is simple, we have come to the championship to win all the matches. I trust my players and I am confident that we will beat all comers.”
Out of the 12 member squad, Mohammed has eight players who got valuable experience in the 2015 women’s World under-23 Championship held in Turkey.
Despite bowing out in the group stages, Mohammed stated that those players will be instrumental in their pursuit of success.
Captain Farida Elaskalany led the team then and responsibility will be on her hands once more according to the coach. She boasts of spike of 300 and two handed blocks of 288 to go with her 1.85 metre frame as listed by Federation Internationale de Volleyball.
Other notable players who also took part in Turkey are Nada Meawad, Mariam Morsy, Doaa Abdelghany, Aya Ahmed, Sarah Hanfy, Rahma Almohandes and Miriam Ahmed.
Mohammed also recognized the threat posed by Kenya and relishes the prospect of facing them. “Kenya is one of the best teams in the competition. They play good volleyball and we are looking forward to facing them,” he concluded.
Kenya squad: Veronica Tanui (Kenya Pipeline), Faith Imodia (St. Paul’s University), Beldine Akinyi (Kenya Pipeline), Damaris Kamaina (Nairobi Water), Ann Lowem (Kenya Prisons), Yvonne Sinaida (Kenya Pipeline), Shyrine Chepkemboi (Kenya Prisons), Pauline Nafula (captain, KCB), Yvonne Wavinya (Kenya Prisons), Edna Mwombe (Kenya Pipeline), Doreen Marani (KCB), Maurine Agwalas (Nairobi Water), Sarah Were (unattached), Celestine Nyongesa (Kenya Pipeline); Technical bench: Catherine Mabwi (head coach), Josp Barasa (assistant coach), Vernon Khayinga (trainer).
Botswana: Caroline Rodger (Kutlwano), Chakalisa Tshiamo (Kutlwano), Banyana Mhotsha (Kutlwano), Koketso Seile (Dynamites), Yarubi Mbwe (Mafolofolo), Moitlamo Nkobedi (Dynamites), Kitsiso Dintwa (Kalavango), Merapelo Tshimologo (Kutlwano), Thato Solomon (Dynamites), Jestinah Moyo (Dynamites), Wabongwa Bathoen (Phikwe), Kebabonye Phofedi (Kalavango) and Gontle Godirwang (Mafolofolo); Officials: Isaac Thenjelani (coach), Dopp Popo (assistant coach), Tshepho Molosiwa (assistant coach).
Egypt: Farida Elaskalany (Captain, Heliopolis) Nada Meawad (Al Shams), Mariam Morsy (Al Ahly), Doaa Abdelghany (Zamalek), Aya Ahmed (Al Shams), Sarah Hanfy (Al Shams), Rahma Elmohandes (Al Ahly), Miriam Ahmed (Al Ahly), Heidi Kandiel (Heliopolis), Lina Abdou (Sporting), Mariam Ebrahim (Al shams), Doaa Elghobashy (Wadi Delga); Officials: Ashour Mohammed (coach), Mohammed Ahmed (assistant coach), Kamel Adel (team manager).
Sunday: Rwanda v Senegal (2 p.m.); Kenya v Botswana (4 p.m.)