Winless Kenya back to division three of FIVB World Grand Prix after loss to Argentina

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jun 13, 2021

Kenya may have dropped to division three of the FIVB World Grand Prix Division losing to Argentina in Poland on Sunday.

Although David Lung'aho, the Malkia Stars head coach put a brave face saying that the team had gaioned valuable experience, the performance was a disaster because Kenya failed to win a single set in six matches.

Needing to win their last match of the 2016 campaign to survive relegation, Malkia Strikers went down 3-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-17) at Wloclawek, Poland.

Lung’aho said it was sad the team won no match in but the positive thing was the experience the team has gained in the two week event which saw them play in Argentina and Poland.

“We did not put up a performance that we should be proud of but the most positive thing is that we have learnt some valuable experience that will help us grow,” the coach said.

Kenya was promoted to Division Two after winning three matches in the third tier last year. 

“Every match that we played was a good experience. The level of those teams was too high for us. After our matches here we know we have a big homework to do and we will do it when we come back to Kenya,” the coach said.

Most impressive player

Despite the loss, the team captain, Mercy Moim, was chosen as the Most Impressive Player, with 18 points to her name. On the Argentinian side, the best performance was by Tanya Acosta with 11 points.

The match began with a point-for-point clash and the Kenyans led 8-7 at the first technical time-out. Argentina managed to find their rhythm a few rallies later and took a three point advantage at 16-13.

Lungaho asked for a break, when Emilce Sosa served an ace and his players got lost in reception. It did bring the expected result as the East Africans came back from a six-point deficit.

But, their lack of experience showed at the end of the set when a simple error handed the win to Argentina, 26-24.

The South American team started the second set in form, winning eight of the opening 10 points. They were unable to hold on the lead as Kenya tied the score at 15-all.

Both teams mixed good spikes with unforced errors, but Josefina Fernandez used her power in serve to give her team a desired 25-22 victory in the second set.

Unfortunately, in the last point, Argentina lost their best scorer to the point, Leticia Boscacci, who got injured and had to leave the court.

In the third set, Argentina were able to step up their efforts from the get-go and achieved a dominant advantage at 16-7.

Moim, tried her best in spike, but could not beat the Argentinian block on her own. Argentina maintained their momentum to grab their first victory in Poland, by taking the set 25-17.

Janet Wanja who was introduced in the match in the second set to replace Jane Wacu believes Kenya could have survived relegation had they won the first set.

“I think that if Kenya had won the first set, which was very close, this match could have looked different. In the first two sets we really wanted to win, but we didn’t manage to do it,” the setter said.