It’s not uncommon for sports fans to become fond of a player either for their prowess in a certain discipline or even for his or her appearance and that seems to be the case with Kenya volleyball fans who have been smitten by heavy Mauritius setter Perrine Ann Jelissa currently participating in the women’s Under-20 African Nations Championship at the Moi Stadium Indoor Arena, Kasarani.
Though many a volleyballers are lithe in their body shape, Jelissa has defied her weight to emerge fans favourite setter even as Mauritius side seek to record their second win of the tournament after winning against Rwanda in their opening match of Pool B.
Kenyans among them, Kenya Volleyball Federation technical director, David Lung’aho has applauded the finger work of the 18-year-old, saying she is in her own class.
"See how she is comfortable in her weight. She can run around and ensure she has a feel of every second ball and her setting is accurate and on point. You can imagine what she could have done with a light if she dazzling even with this weight ," noted Lung’aho.
Sensational setter Jane Wacu, who Jelissa looks up to, noted she has a promising future.
"I have played with her in some competitions back in Seychelles and imagine, she is a second setter in her team. I am setter too but I believe she has good finger works than me. I’m happy that she is comfortable in her body and she is ready to risk and that’s what makes a good setter," said Wacu, who is in the senior team preparing for the World Championship set for later next month in Japan.
International referee Tabitha Cherono said she doesn’t believe Jelissa would have made it to the any team with her weight in this part of the world.
"They could have written her off immediately after seeing her weight, but look at her, the basic skills are absolutely fantastic. I am even more proud of the Mauritius team that they entrusted her in that position. Interestingly, she is rarely subbed. I admire her," said Cherono.
Kenya Prisons women’s team official Anestis Azenga Mavisi said: "Don’t mind the weight, she is simply amazing."