Voice of Sport

Young players write history as Kenya beats Cameroon for women’s volleyball Gold in Brazzaville

Kenya had lost 2-3 to Cameroon during an earlier pool match, blowing a 2-0 lead and which seemed to have been a motivation for revenge. Coach Paul Gitau seemed to have corrected all his previous substitution errors


A Kenyan team full of rookies has won the Gold medal in African Games women’s volleyball this afternoon in Brazzaville. It was Kenya’s first triumph after a trio of failures in Maputo (Mozambique, 2011), Blida (Algeria, 2007) and Abuja (Nigeria, 2003). The Kenyans last win in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1999.

After a 3-1 triumph over Cameroon (15-25, 25-16, 25-15, and 25-19), the scenes of celebrating Kenyan players and a retinue of supporters including Members of Parliament, Government officials and members of Team Kenya from other sports flooded the floor of the indoor gymnasium in central Brazzaville. A third place play-off match for the Bronze medal between Rwanda and Egypt that was supposed to follow the Final had to be delayed by the lengthy Kenyan merriment.

Committed

In this tournament, Kenya was fielding a second-tier selection, their top team, Malkia Strikers, having been committed earlier in the FIVB World Cup in Japan whose last matches were going on as the competition was starting here in Congo.

But coach Paul Gitau’s team which included school girls such as Anne Lowen of Kwathanze High School in Machakos revelled at upstaging teams that normally give the full Malkia Strikers outfit a tough time including Algeria and Egypt who the youngsters brought down here in Brazzaville.

Battled

Ironically, Gitau’s team had lost 2-3 to Cameroon during the pool matches, blowing a 2-0 lead that proved the motivator for revenge in the final. Gitau seemed to have corrected all his substitution mistakes but even then, the young players showed a lot of resolve after they had gone behind 15-25 in the first set. They battled to 25-16, 25-15 and 25-19 wins to land the dream Gold.

It was Cameroon’s third straight loss in an African Games final, twice before losing to Algeria in Mozambique and Algeria. It was Kenya’s fourth volleyball title, overtaking Algeria who also had three

The Gold medal winning Kenya team in Brazzaville:

1. Joy Luseneka

2. Rose Magoi

3. Anne Lowen

4. Loice Jepkosgei

7. Leonida Kasaya

8. Violet Makuto

10. Judith Tarus

11. Naomi Too

13. Joan Jelagat

17. Gaudencia Makokha

19. Edith Wisa Mukuvilani

Assistant coach – Joseph Barasa

Assistant coach – Esther Jepkosgei

Head coach – Paul Gitau