Kenya national women’s u-23 volleyball team head coach Catherine Mabwi has named a 14 member strong squad for the upcoming Confederation of African women’s under-23 Championship that serves off on Sunday at Safaricom Indoor Arena, Nairobi.
Kenya Pipeline enjoys the lion’s share and will be represented by Veronica Tanui, Edna Mwombe, Celestine Nyongesa, Beldine Akinyi and hard hitter Yvonne Sinaida.
The national team started residential training last week and has played a series of friendly matches against Kenya Pipeline and Kenya Prisons to gauge the players’ ability according to the coach. She said that the high levels of competition have brought the best out of the players.
“The players have been keen in following instructions and have prepared well for the championships. There has been stiff competition for places and it has not been easy selecting the team.” Mabwi said.
Also named in the squad are Kenya Prisons trio of Ann Lowem, Shyrine Jepkemboi, Yvonne Wavinya. Kenya Commercial Bank middle blocker Pauline Wafula will lead the charges as team captain.
However, there is no room for Kenyatta University’s right attacker Maureen Nanjala and Strathmore University’s right attacker Leah Akumu.
Despite their prowess seen especially against Kenya Pipeline, the two have been dropped from the squad as they have school commitments but Mabwi insists that her team is strong and can cope.
“I am happy with all the players are at my disposal. They are very capable of delivering and I am confident that they will do so come competition day. We have received a lot of support for our training sessions so the girls are ready,” Mabwi concluded.
The championship has attracted six nations including Rwanda, Egypt, Tunisia, Senegal, and Botswana along with hosts Kenya.
At stake is a ticket to qualify for the 2017 World under-23 championship set for Slovenia. Rwanda is already settled in their training at Kasarani while other teams are expected to jet in from Thursday to Saturday morning.
Setters: Veronica Tanui (Kenya Pipeline), Faith Imodia (St. Paul’s University); Right attackers: Beldine Akinyi (Kenya Pipeline), Damaris Kamaina (Nairobi Water); Middle blockers: Ann Lowem (Kenya Prisons), Yvonne Sinaida (Kenya Pipeline), Shyrine Chepkemboi (Kenya Prisons), Pauline Wafula (captain, KCB); Left attackers: Yvonne Wavinya (Kenya Prisons), Edna Mwombe (Kenya Pipeline), Doreen Marani (KCB), Maurine Agwalas (Nairobi Water); Libero: Sarah Were (unattached), Celestine Nyongesa (Kenya Pipeline); Dropped: Maureen Nanjala (Kenyatta University), Leah Akumu (Strathmore University); Technical bench: Catherine Mabwi (head coach), Josp Barasa (assistant coach), Vernon Khayinga (trainer).