Nairobi News

SportsWhat's Hot

Malkia Strikers book ticket to FIVB World Championships

Belligerent Malkia Strikers of Kenya on Friday night booked a ticket to 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships by beating rivals Egypt 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-19) in the semi-finals of the women’s Volleyball Africa Nations Championship at the Palais des Sports Indoor Arena in Yaounde, Cameroon.

This continental competition was doubling up as qualifiers for the Women’s World Championship scheduled for June next year in Japan, where two slots have been reserved for Africa.

Hosts Cameroon were scheduled to face off with West African giants Senegal in the second semi-final to determine who Kenya will face in the final slated for 10pm on Saturday evening at the same venue.

Kenya coach Japheth Munala was beside himself with joy after the match, and he viewed the result as sweet revenge against the Egyptians who famously denied Kenya a chance to proceed to the Rio Olympic Games in the Africa qualifiers staged in Cameroon last year.


“Getting here has not been very easy and first of all I thank God for enabling us. For me this has been the most difficult game of the competition. Egypt were very strong, as usual, and it required mental strength from the girls in order to overcome them.

“You can see how close the scores were. Twice we found ourselves tied with them at 20-20 which made the last few minutes of the game even more daunting. We now have the free pass to the world championship, and that is a good thing, but I am hoping that we still manage a good result tomorrow (Saturday) in the final,” Munala said.

To get to the semis, the African queens had beaten Nigeria 3-0 (25-16, 25-8, 25-10) and Senegal 3-0 (25-21, 28-26, 25-15) in their first two matches, before wrapping up the group stage on a high note with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-16) win over Tunisia on Tuesday.


These impressive results saw Kenya finish on top of Pool ‘B’  with 12 points, and as the only team that has not dropped a single set in the course of the tournament.

It was a close contest from start to finish, with Egypt pulling all stops to get themselves ahead and grab the ticket to the global games.

Their strengths in height and physique were however matched equally by the strength and agility of the Kenyan girls who committed less unforced errors and who also proved more organised tactically.

Munala, who is chasing his first continental title with the national team, started with a reliable lineup that had veteran Jane Wacu in the setting position.

Middle blocker Edith Wisa was evidently the destroyer-in-chief especially in the second and third sets where she overwhelmed Egypt with her quick spikes and strong blocks.