Kenya finish a poor 10th in Egypt

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Oct 29, 2017

Despite disappointment at the 2017 Men’s African Nations Championship in Egypt, national men volleyball team coach Moses Epoloto has remained positive.

He explained a focus on maturity on the field and playing more quality matches could improve the performance of this young team in future.

Kenya finished a disappointing 10th after going down to Ghana 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-20) in the ranking match at Cairo Stadium Complex on Saturday.

This was the second loss to Ghana in the tournament. Epoloto’s side had lost 3-0 in the opening match.

Epoloto said he had seen noticeable improvement but the young team still has a long way to go.

In an exclusive chat with Sports News Arena, Epoloto believed he has a good team that will improve with time but just needed to improve mentally and get exposed.

“I feel it has been a good tournament. From our performance point of view, we could have done better and probably get into the quarters. However we have been able to learn some lessons with the key being that the players need to mature mentally and also get more matches,” he said.

Epoloto who also doubles up as General Service Unit coach added that the squad should be given more time if Kenya is to make a mark in the continent just like the women’s team.

Still developing

He said that although some members of the team have played together for a while, they are still quite young players who are still developing.

“I think that is the word to look for (development). We’re still developing as individuals and as a team. I am very optimistic about where we can get to. I can see the ability and I can see the talent within this group.

And this is gelling together, getting to know each other’s’ games and trusting each other’s’ play and getting out there and feeling that we can go out there and confidently perform against other teams. Like I said, it’s just that bit of mental maturity, desire to do well instead of just the little bit of fear of not doing it,” Epoloto told SNA.

The coach noted that most of the teams at the event had taken part in a number of buildups – something that made them look better than his side. “

We were shocked to see how some teams had improved. Most teams shocked us with how they played. They were able to achieve that because of playing a number of matches that exposed them before the tournament. I am sure had we also had a number of matches against stronger sides we would be talking of something different,” Epoloto added.

He gave an example of losses to Ghana who had been considered underdogs ahead of the event. Ghana shocked Kenya with an opening loss of 3-0 (16-25, 24-26, 16-25).

“We could say we were disappointed with our performances against Ghana. We know we are better than the performance that we have put forward, so that was disappointing for us. We performed well at the start of every set but just lost our way in between in the middle,” he added.

Of the three wins that Kenya registered, only the one against Chad was comfortable as the other two against Libya and Nigeria the matches were determined in the fifth set.

Kenya had edged out Chad 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-20) in the ninth to 12 play off on Friday to book a second date with Ghana.

Kenya Results

Kenya lost to Ghana 0-3 (16-25, 24-26, 16-25).

Kenya lost to Tunisia 0-3 (16-25, 19-25, 22-25).

Kenya beat Libya 3-2 (25-16, 25-20, 21-25, 21-25, 12-15).

Kenya beat Nigeria 3-2 (25-20, 20-25, 25-29, 22-25, 15-13).

Kenya beat Chad 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-20).

Kenya lost to Ghana 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-20).