Kenya reclaimed the Africa Volleyball title after beating Algeria 3-1 (25-17, 17-25,25-21,25-13) at the Africa Nazarene University Wednesday to book a ticket to the World Cup which will be held in Japan later this year.
The North Africans lifted the trophy in 2009 in Kenya’s absence. Kenya failed to qualify in 2007. On their way to the final, Kenya beat Nigeria, Egypt and Cameroon to top pool A before seeing off Senegal in semis to book a date with Algeria.
The new Africa champion won their seventh title of the championship and will represent Africa at the World Cup in Japan. Led by Lydia Maiyo in the attack and captain, Brackcides Agala in the defense, Kenya thwarted Algeria’s attack to take the first set 25-11.
Maiyo was voted the championship’s best attacker with Agala taking the best defender’s title. In the second set, Algeria turned on the screws to silence many fans who turned up to watch the final match as the curtain for the one week long comes to close.
They raced to a 11-17 lead with Faiza Tsebet scoring 12 points for her country to help Algeria win the set 25-17. The third set was a cliff hanger and kept the fans on the edge of their seats. Kenya narrowly surged to a 7-5 in the 12th service but Algeria were closely behind them with at most two points difference until the 40th service which saw the new champs open a three point gap to take the third set 25-21.
Kenya took the fourth set 25-13, sending fans to celebration with songs and dances engulfing the atmosphere at the Africa Nazarene University venue. Coach David Lunga’ho attributed the win to hard work from his players. He promised to retain the bulk of the squad for next month’s All Africa Games in Mozambique. He will be assembling his squad for the Maputo games in two days time.
The coach proposed that the government should support the team and secure a training camp in either Asia or Europe during their World Cup preparation. His sentiments were quickly brushed aside by the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) Chairman, Waithaka Kioni who said that there was no money to facilitate the teams’ training abroad.
Egypt beat Senegal 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 24-26 15-8) to take the third position. The Senegalese were plucky losing many balls from poor service although Fatou Diouck was voted the most impressive player steered them to the win the second and fourth sets (25-21, 26-24) before the Pharaohs replied by taking the third and fifth sets (25-21, 15-8).
Senegal finished fourth with Cameroon, Tunisia, Botswana and Nigeria closing the list position five to eight in that order. The best server title went to Egyptian, Sama Ali with her team mate Ahmed Neha taking the best libero title.