Korean rout hands Kenya a reality check

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NAIROBI, Kenya, November 9- After experiencing the highs of being lauded for their stoic displays against top opposition at the ongoing FIVB World Cup, Kenya women’s volleyball team tumbled to the ground with a thud on Wednesday morning against Korea.

With no disrespect to the Asians, Korea was one of the countries whom Paul Bitok, the continental champions head coach, had earmarked as potential scalps at the global showpiece having endured a similar torrid start to the tournament.

But on Wednesday, the spirit that had won Kenya many neutrals in the tournament when they bravely imposed themselves against Germany, number one side Brazil, European champions, Serbia and emergent USA deserted them.

A straight sets loss of 25-21, 25-14 and 25-15 saw Bitok’s charges slump to a fifth and by far, their most deflating defeat in the tournament as the second round of fixtures concluded in Toyama.

“After playing well against some of the big teams, today I’m a bit disappointed because we expected to win against Korea or at least pick up two sets.

“We made many mistakes and Korea served well and we couldn’t receive. We didn’t serve so well today although some individual players did well. Today our morale was down and I hope it will not happen in the next matches,” the crestfallen Bitok said after the 3-0 set back.

With the crowd on their side, the African champions only rallied in the opening set before the Koreans edged it and thereafter, their victory was never in doubt as the linchpins of the Kenyan side led by their captain, Brackcides Khadambi meekly surrendered in the other two in their most insipid display at the tournament.

“Today we didn’t play a good game and that’s why we lost. We could have played better,” the skipper rued.

For Korea, topping the battle of the basement sides in a tough pool came as mighty relief after previously losing all four of their matches.

“I’m very happy to have won today after four losses. It’s a valuable victory. We’ve had a lack of preparation for this tournament but now the players have a bit more confidence and I’d like maintain this form,” Bitok’s opposite number, Kim Hyung-Sil expressed.

His captain and star in the Kenyan romp, Kim Se-Young added, “The Kenyan team had some good serves but we also served really well and that led us to our win today.”

The teams move to Tokyo for their next round of fixtures with the forthcoming match against fellow Africans Algeria the only viable chance for the continental queens to save their face after their last campaign at the World Cup ended with a wooden spoon.

– Quotes sourced from FIVB

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