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September 23, 2018

Kenyans blunder:Junior Malkia in a must win situation against pool leaders Cameroon

Junior Malkia players block a  shot against Nigeria during  African Nations Volleyball U20 Championship  at the Kasarani Gymnasium stadium on August 29, 2018. /OLIVER MORGAN
Junior Malkia players block a shot against Nigeria during African Nations Volleyball U20 Championship at the Kasarani Gymnasium stadium on August 29, 2018. /OLIVER MORGAN

Kenya surrendered their one set lead to succumb 3-1 (25-19, 24-26,18-25, 23-25) to Nigeria as the 2018 women’s Under-20 African Nations Championship gathered pace at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani, Indoor Arena yesterday.

The yesterday results means Kenya and Nigeria are tied on three points after each side won and lost a match apiece. Kenya will need to beat Cameroon today 3-0 if we have to qualify for the semi-finals as number two in Group ‘A’.

Nigeria have an easy tie against Tanzania. Kenya coach Paul Gitau made three changes to the starting line up, handing Emmaculate Misiko, Miriam Ngeywo and Lydia Emokol starting roles as Kenya trailed 3-8 at the first technical time out.

The unsettled Kenya side then begun to grow in the match, closing the gap 8-10 with Betty Sifuna reaping points with her good services.

Emokol and Sifuna then staged a water tight blocks to eventually overtake the visitors 14-13 and 16-14 at the second technical time out.

Nigeria went on to awarded Kenya free points with their poor service and wrong judgement at the back court as they trailed 17-22 as Kenya ran away with the set 25-19.

Kenya led in the early stages of the second set 4-2 before Onyinye Inunkwo and Elizabeth Ilesani powered through with sure spikes, taking a advantage of the Kenyans’ leaking blocks to again lead 8-6 at the first TTO.

Kenya’s coach Gitau then rested Stacy Otieno for Belinda Nanjala as they overtook Nigerians 16-14 at the 2nd TTO before they again faltered to trail 18-19.

Then Ngeywo paved way for Mercy Likhayo but the switch did little to change the set score as Nigeria led 24-20. Kenyans then closed in 23-24 but it was the visitors who had the final laugh, sealing the set 26-24 to level the sets 1-1.

For once hosts led 8-5 at the 1st TTO in the third set before again squeezing a 16-15 lead at 2nd TTO. However, this is as far as they could go as Nigeria overtook to lead 23-15 en-route, winning the set 25-18 for a 2-1 set advantage.

In the fourth set Kenya led 8-2 and 16-12 at the 1st and 2nd TTO but again failed to contain the West Africans as they trailed 23-24 before Nigeria took the set 25-23.

In the earlier match played at the same venue, Uganda continued with their poor run, going down to Rwanda 3-0 (25-17,25-8,25-16) to record their third loss of the event.

Ugandans had lost their first match against champions Egypt 3-0 before succumbing to DR Congo 3-2 in their second match. Uganda will play their final group match against Mauritius today.

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