NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – The Kenya Under-20 women’s volleyball team started their CAVB African Under-20 Championship on a roll beating Tanzania by straight sets (25-15, 25-21, 25-11) at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani Gymnasium on Sunday evening.
Coach Paul Gitau gave each of his players a run out for their opening match of the competition and he said despite some nervous moments especially in the second set, he was pleased with their performance.
“I am very happy with how we did today. There is no cause for alarm because as a coach, you want to preserve much from the first game. The team that played out in the final set is my first six. In the other two sets, I tried out different players and that’s why there were many mistakes,” Gitau said.
He added; “These girls are young and sometimes you don’t want to shout at them too much when they make mistakes and that’s why I was calm on the bench. At the breaks, we talked of our mistakes especially in service where we were losing many points and we corrected.”
In the other matches played on the opening day of the competition, DR Congo and Egypt also started their campaign on a high with straight set wins over Mauritius and Uganda respectively.
Hosts Kenya were touted to win against a very young Tanzanian side which was coming into the championship for the first time.
Nonetheless, the neighbors showed they were also in it to compete by pushing Kenya to the wall, winning the first point off a Kenyan serve.
But, Gitau’s girls were in control heading into the first technical time out leading 8-6. They continued rolling on after resumption and Tanzania was forced to call out their first time out with Kenya stretching away at 13-8.
Despite that, they couldn’t stem the tide with Kenya going off 16-9 leaders at the second technical time out.
The home girls kept on the push with skipper Mercy Likhayo and Stacy Otieno doing the work on the blocks while right attacker Belinda Nanjala delivered the bullets in attack.
The Junior Malkia took comfort after the second technical time out and went on to win the set 25-15.
However, the second set proved to be a nervous affair with Tanzania threatening by keeping a close tabs on the score. Kenya led 8-6 and 16-13 at the first and second technical time outs with the Tanzanians coming back stronger.
At some point, the score was tied at 21-21, but Gitau made changes bringing in his hard hitters and they delivered the job, stretching the score to 25-21.
The third set was a walk in the park for the home girls as they easily won 25-11, leading 8-4 and 16-7 at the first and second technical time outs.
The Junior Malkia will have a two day rest before resuming action on Wednesday evening when they play their second group match against Nigeria.