Queens depart for Olympics qualifiers


NAIROBI, Kenya, January 30- The national women’s volleyball team leaves on Monday for the Africa Zone Olympics qualifiers that will kick-off on Wednesday in Blida, Algeria.

Head coach, Gideon Chenje is confident the squad will qualify for London for their third Olympics campaign after finishing 11th at both the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Games.

Chenje said: “If fairness prevails both on and off the court then I can confidently say that Kenya will qualify for London.”

“The travelling players are arguably some of the best in Africa and I see no reason why they should not qualify for the Olympics,” he said.

The tactician went for experience when he named his final travelling party of 12 with setter, Jane Wacu who missed the FIVB World Cup in Japan after an altercation at the All Africa Games the most high profile returnee to the side.

Kenya Pipeline rising talent, Noel Murambi who impressed in Japan will however, miss the party since she is still nursing injury with veteran Edna Rotich who did not make the Maputo and World Cup called-up to take her place.

Pipeline duo of Roselyn Odhiambo and Esther Wangeci retained their positions and so is hard hitting Everline Makuto of Kenya Prisons.

“I hope Odhiambo and Wangeci will maintain the great form that saw them help Pipeline win the national league,” the coach remarked.

Colourful Prisons spiker Everlyn Makuto who was twice voted Most Impressive Player at the last World Cup is another notable player named in the team.

“Makuto is one of the attackers we’ll rely on in Blida to take Kenya to the Olympics,” said Chenje who is handling the women’s side team for the first time.

Regulars Janet Wanja, Diana Khisa, Mildred Odwako, Lydia Maiyo, Mercy Moim and Bracksides Agala in the team with hope that they will use well their experience and clear opponents in Blida.

The coach who led the men’s side to bronze at the All Africa Games will lead the team to contest the sole ticket available for London at the nation where their hopes of qualifying for the Beijing edition were dashed by the hosts.

The Kenyan contingent departs in two groups.

Jane Wacu, Ruth Chepngetich, Jannet Wanja, Diana Khisa, Esther Wangeci, Millicent Odwako, Lydia Maiyo, Mercy Moim, Evelyn Makuto, Edna Rotich, Bracksides Agala and Roselyn Adhiambo.