'Rejected' players prove their mettle on return

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jun 08, 2021
  • Brackcides Agala, a former captain was concerned about the team’s performance and was hopeful for a better performance in Poland.

Late last year, Kenya Volleyball Federation embarked on a mission to ensure the national women team qualifies for the first time since 2004.

To ensure this happed, KVF made changes on the team playing unit and the technical bench.

Among the players that KVF thought their services were not needed in Kenya’s quest to make it to Rio were Captain Brackcides Agala, Janet Wanja and Esther Wangeci.

Head coach David Lung’aho was also relieved of his duties and was replaced by Japheth Munala. To replace the three players, KVF opted for young and inexperienced players.

“We have opted to select some players who impressed both at the African Games and in the league. A young crop of players means a few others must give way. This is the cycle,” Munala, said then.

Kenya travelled to Cameroon for the Olympic Games qualifiers and finished third missing a chance to make it to Rio later this year.

With the loss in Cameroon (which looked to be an easy qualifying route for Kenya), Kenya were faced with the toughest qualification-the World Olympics Games Qualifiers in Puerto Rico.

KVF realized the young crop of players failed to deliver the Olympic ticket and went back to the old players they had dropped to see if they can deliver the ticket.

Agala, Wanja and Wangeci were called up for training and when the final squad to travel to Argentina was named, the three were in the squad.

In the three matches Kenya played in Puerto Rico against hosts Puerto Rico, Algeria and Colombia, the three were the core of the team. But the most outstanding player among the trio was Agala.

Top scorer

In the three matches, Agala was Kenya’s top scorer and the qualifiers second best with 39 points. Her closest scorer in the Kenyan team was Triza Atuka who was placed eighth with 25 points.

In the just concluded first leg of the World Grand Prix Division Two, Agala was once again impressive emerging Kenya’s top scorer with 31 points.

As the team’s landed in Poland for the second leg of the Grand Prix from Friday, Kenyans will be hoping that Agala will be at her very best and see that Kenya survives relegation to Division three.

Speaking on her performance since her return into the team, Agala said as much as she would like to score more she was much concerned about the team’s performance and was hopeful for a better performance in Poland.

“I don’t care about my scores because our team couldn't achieve a ticket to the Olympics and we couldn’t win a match in Argentina last week. So as much as I would like to be up there in points, I focus only on winning,” Agala said.

Kenya is set to play hosts Poland, Argentina and Puerto Rico and will need at least one week to retain their Division Three position.

“We will have to work extra hard and remain focused at all times. We kept losing concentration most of the time especially against Dominican Republic thus losing. We can’t afford to do that again,” the former captain said.

The team arrived in the city of Wloclawek on Tuesday evening after a 26 hours journey from Argentina.