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Winless Malkia Strikers lose to Japan


Malkia Striker attacker, Mercy Moim spikes the ball during their match against Japan on August 26. PHOTO/courtesy

TOKYO, August 26 – Kenya’s winless streak at the FIVB Volleyball Women World Cup continued after they lost in straight sets to hosts Japan at the Yoyogi National Stadium on Wednesday.

The Malkia Strikers were overwhelmed by Japan in the three sets thriller where they went down 25-15, 25-20, 25-12 to suffer their fourth successive defeat in the global showpiece where 12 nations are battling it out for the world title.

Despite the loss, Kenyan sensational attacker, Mercy Moim was the top scorer on 13 points in the clash where Japan picked their third win to stay second in the standing behind leaders, unbeaten Russia.

Head coach, David Lung’aho slammed his charged for making many errors in the reception to see Japan dominate on the offence with 39 spikes against 29.

“Japan played very well tonight. We made many mistakes in reception and it is tough to play against them when you are not receiving well, since they play such a fast game. We hope to keep improving and play like Japan in the future,” Lung’aho, who also doubles up as women’s Prisons head coach, stated.

Captain, Bracksides Agala, echoed her coach sentiments saying “Japan played a very good game. We made too many errors in reception.”

Japan head coach, Masayoshi Manabe hailed his players for the win that put them on course to win their first title since 1977.

“Our service and reception were especially good tonight. We won in straight sets and I’m very happy. We have been working on our serves. We tried to hit the ball just over the net. Otake was good at quick attacks, so I want her to work well with the setter.”

Japan outsmarted the FIVB Grand Prix gold medallist using their quick and well-placed spikes to open the match with an 8-2 lead.

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The Japanese side were also too strong in the defence, which could not be penetrated by the Kenyan attack as the Asians rallied to end the first set 25-15.

Japan likewise outplayed the record-nine-time African champions in the second set with a 16-9 lead in the second technical timeout but Lung’aho charges had a brilliant run that helped them trail the hosts 24-20.

Japan funnelled their final attack in the centre of the Kenyan court to end the set 25-20 before employing well-disciplined defence in the third set, limiting the Malkia Strikers to work their way from the flanks to command the set 25-12.

Kenya next face Argentina on Wednesday hoping to collect their first win.

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