The national women’s volleyball team wrapped up their eighth Africa Nations Championships title in style- without dropping a set- by completing the Tunisian whitewash on Thursday night at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
David Lungaho’s queens breezed through the tournament unblemished by handing the Magreb nation a 3-0 drubbing that has become their hallmark since the event volleyed off last weekend to complete their round robin assignment with maximum 15 points.
“I’m happy because my tactics worked against Tunisia who were tough especially in the third set, but the substitution I made really worked for me. We are now embarking on training ahead of the World Championships qualifiers,” Lungaho who led the team to yet another continental honour gushed.
The African queens lead by Captain Bracksides Agala, setter Jane Wacu and Janet Wanja strolled through the first set by 25-17, before struggling in the second which they won 25-20.
Tunisia came blazing in the final one managing to sweat the hosts but eventually surrendered, going down 25-23 to confirm Kenya as champions once more since they required only to win two sets to clinch the title.
While their latest continental conquest cannot be diminished after Cameroon, Senegal, Olympic finalists Algeria and Egypt fell to the charged hosts in straight sets, the question is when will the side will transfer their continental supremacy to the global stage where they are yet to register victory and are often victims of the same dose they mete out on their African rivals.
Lungaho’s side will set upon the qualifiers for next year’s World Championships in November in a buoyant mood, particularly after thrashing the team that robbed them a chance to return to the Olympics last year and Cameroon who until they met the Kenyans, had also enjoyed a blistering start to the event.
While it goes without question that Kenya are primed to secure a berth among the 24 teams at the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championships in Italy, the team finished joint 21st (last) with fellow Africans Algeria, Canada and Kazakhstan in the last edition in Japan without winning a single game.
The task for Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) is to turn the talented girls into world beaters and that can only be achieved in investing heavily in the squad to give them a fighting chance against the might of the likes of world champions Russia, Brazil, USA, Japan and Italy among others who made mince meat of the African queens.
Reports that the team was ejected from the Kasarani hostels over non-payment of bills and requiring to be bailed out by among others, the former volleyballer and Cherangany Senator, Kipchumba Murkomen are hardly the best platform to launch the journey that barring disaster, should take the African queens to Italy.
In recent years, KVF led by the veteran vice-president of Africa Volleyball Federation, Waithaka Kioni, has put out the begging bowl for the necessary cash but it beggars belief that with a team that dominates an entire continent in the fashion of the freshly coined eight-time champion, using the girls as marketing tools for female products within and outside the country’s borders for instance, has not been explored.
With local captains of industry reputed to be frugal as far as endorsing sport is concerned, recent outlays on teams and individual athletes suggest the tide is turning and Kioni and his team should ensure they jump into the bandwagon instead of the usual cries for donations and spending from pocket.
Otherwise, the Kasarani pounding delivered by the queens on what Africa threw at them will all be a token victory.