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Malkia fired up to strike Africa hat-trick

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JANE-WACU

Malkia Strikers setter, Jane Wacu who is expected to start Africa Cup final against Algeria on Saturday. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, June 18- High-flying national women’s volleyball team have set their sights on completing the hat-trick of continental titles when they take on Algeria in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations Championships final at Nairobi’s Kasarani Gymnasium.

The Malkia Strikers, who are yet to drop a set in the week-long tournament, face the North Africans for the second time in the tournament after seeing them off in straight sets at the preliminary round.

Head coach David Lung’aho, who will be seeking to guide the champions to a record ninth crown, expects a tough final since Algeria already have a clue about their game plan.

“The tournament has been difficult because all teams were good, but it was to our advantage since we are preparing for the World Grand Prix and All Africa Games.

“It will be a tough final since we will be playing Algeria for the second time. We have to re-plan and do a lot of home work, we will change our game since they have studied us,” Lung’aho who also doubles up as Kenya Prisons women’s boss stated after edging out Cameroon in the semi-finals.

Captain Bracksides Agala believes nobody can stop them after overcoming the hard fighting West Africans (25-22, 25-14, and 25-22) in the last four to continue their dominance.

“Cameroon was a tough opponent, we know them very well, if they don’t win the first set they lose moral so we maximized on that and beat them. Our aim was to avoid embarrassment of bowing out at the semis. We will play Algeria as if we have never played them before, we are going to fight,” the skipper underscored.

“They came with new strategy. Many of their players are based in Europe. They were serving near the net which gave us problems but we managed to overcome them,” Lung’aho added in support.

Experienced setter, Janet Wanja who has not enjoyed a dominant tournament thus far with Lung’aho preferring Jane Wacu to start, is looking forward for a fifth career African final.

“At the end of the day whether, I play or my friend Wacu, it’s the result that matters. I’m happy because she is a good setter too and she has done a great job so far.

-Good experience-

Head coach David Lung'aho looks on as his team celebrates. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Head coach David Lung’aho looks on as his team celebrates. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“The experience has been good the fact that I was voted the best setter last year. This year, we are hoping for the best in Grand Prix but my main objective is to win All Africa Games, if I do it will be my greatest achievement,” Wanja, the elder sister of Kenyan Premier League side, Tusker FC midfielder Kevin Kimani stated.

Kenya launched her title defense with a straight sets win over Mauritius (25-12, 25-13, 25-17) before going on to thrash Algeria (25-20, 25-22, 25-19) and Botswana (25-19,25-12, 25-18).

After the final, the team will travel to Australia next week time for the World Grand Prix  where they will face the hosts, Algeria, Colombia, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Peru before representing the country at the August All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.

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