NAIROBI, Kenya, February 10- Egypt will be among Africa representatives at the FIVB World Championships in Poland after sealing the only slot during the men’s continental Pool U qualifiers at the expense of hosts Kenya after overwhelming Cape Verde by straight sets to win all their round robin matches.
Despite the home boys edging out Botswana 3-2 (26-26, 25-15, 24-26, 27-25, 19-17) in a tightly contested match staged at Safaricom Indoor Gymnasium on Monday evening Kenya missed out on a maiden World Championships showing in Poland this September after they lost 3-1 to the Pharaohs on Friday.
Coach Gideon Chenje, said poor preparations including lack of exposure and late arrival of professional players Philip Maiyo, Mike Chemos (Turkey) and John Ndun’gu (Italy) played a big role in his side missing the Poland ticket.
“The game was tight and after losing to Egypt morale went down since our main target was to win all the matches and that’s why the Botswana game was difficult.
“The boys approached this game underrating them because we have never played them for a long time but it proved the visitors trained well and were ready for this tournament,” the head coach said.
He added; “The team has not stayed together for long because all our key players based abroad came in two days to the competition and time was not enough for them to catch up.”
Chenje, the Kenya Prisons men’s team head coach, declared they would search for young players to prepare for the Zone 5 under-23 men and women qualifications for Africa Cup of Nations that will be hosted at the same venue from March 1 to 10.
“We have learnt every game is very important and the Federation together with Government should invest in this team for us to progress.
“We should go for young talent to replace veterans when they retire and this is a long term plan because they need to play in as many build matches as possible to get the experience,” he concluded.
Kenya Volleyball Federation vice chairman, Charles Nyaberi, said they will retain the squad for future tournaments and will organise as many competitive matches as possible.
“The African volleyball standards are very high, Egypt is a very good outfit noting they were playing without their three key players who went back to Qatar to play in their clubs.
“We don’t want to give excuses, our team played very well and we have gained ground but we will work on it and we will be at par with Cameroon, Algeria and Egypt.”
Maiyo, who plies his trade in Turkey, was disappointed with the results, saying their main aim was to qualify for the World Championships.
“We are satisfied finishing in second, but our main target was to go to Poland but we have drawn a lot of lessons since every team is equal and strong,” he told.
Egypt will represent Pool U for the world championships set for Poland from August 31 to September 21.
Kenya finished second overall after winning in straight sets to Zambia, Cape Verde and 3-2 win against Botswana before losing 3-1 to Egypt while the latter settled for third place.
The championships now shifts for the women’s Pool U qualifiers featuring Kenya, Tunisia, Seychelles, Mozambique, Cape Verde and Uganda, scheduled for the weekend of 16 at the same venue.