Broke Malkia thrash Uganda to bag Africa Games ticket
The cash-strapped national women volleyball team, Malkia Strikers put aside their off the court woes to clinch Zone Five All African Games sole ticket thrashing Uganda by straight sets as the qualifiers served out on Tuesday evening at the Lugogo Indoor Arena, Uganda.
Malkia Strikers, the four-time all African Games winners saw off the hosts by sets of 25-20, 25-17 and 25-16 to finish top of the tournament in a round-robin format thus bagging the single ticket that guarantee them qualification to the continental championship set for Morocco.
The Kenyan queens who will be out to defend their 2015 title in the August championship, finished on nine points after winning by straight sets against Rwanda and Ethiopia on Sunday and Monday respectively in the tournament which attracted four teams.
Prior to the final fixture ,the nine-time African Championship winners were fretting about the possibility of being held hostage in Kampala over unpaid hotel bills amounting to well over Sh1 million and it is not clear whether the government will clear the bills before the team leave the neighbouring country this afternoon.
In a post-match reflection, head coach Japheth Munala praised his charges for the feat while shifting focus to the African Championship slated for July 5-15 in Cairo, Egypt.
“It was a good performance and despite training for only two weeks we have underlined our intentions to defend the All African Games title. Now we have African Championship coming before All African Games and so we are going back to the camp in earnest,” Munala enthused.
Italian coach Shailene Ramdoo who was forwarded to Kenya by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) following a request from Kenya Volleyball Federation, was also elated by the Malkia’s triumph.
“That was a superb job from the girls and they deserve the ticket. We will go back and work on some of our undoings. I have noticed like poor reception which still hurts Kenyan volleyball and then we will be raring to go in the coming championship,” said the 52-year old coach who is a certified international volleyball trainer with an FIVB Level 2 and 3-course certificate.
At the same time, the Italian coach will also be relied upon to guide Malkia Strikers back to Olympic Games next year after a 15-year drought. The team last played in the Olympics in 2004 finishing at 11th position, similar to the previous and first outing in 2000.
Kenya will face World Championships runners up Italy, then Netherlands and Belgium in the Olympics qualifiers, which will be played in Italy from August 2-4.
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