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February 23, 2019

We did our best

Kenya’s Pamela Owino spikes past Nigerian opposition during their match on Wednesday / COURTESY
Kenya’s Pamela Owino spikes past Nigerian opposition during their match on Wednesday / COURTESY

National under 20 women’s volleyball team coach Paul Gitau has refuted claims that his regular tinkering with the squad cost the country a chance to qualify for next year’s World Championships in Mexico.

The junior side bowed out of the competition on Thursday evening after losing two of their Pool ‘A’ matches against West African duo of Nigeria and Cameroon in identical sets of 3-1 at the ongoing African U20 Nations Championships at Moi Stadium, Kasarani.

Kenya’s only win came against neighbours Tanzania. Gitau who made changes in all the starting line ups in the three matches said that was his tactic and believed it worked for the hosts in one way or the other.

“Shuffling the squad here and there really is not to blame for the early exit in the event. If anything I believe the girls put their right foot forward in every match but once the scores were against them, panic would creep in,” said Gitau.

“Truth be told, our preparation were not as good as we would have loved it especially after a quarter of my players, who were away in Rwanda for the East Africa School Games joined the team two days prior to the event kick off.”

“How could we have even gelled? Maybe things could have been different should we have trained together for quite sometime but all in all I shoulder responsibility for what happened at the event.”

At the same time, Gitau urged the Kenya Volleyball Federation and the government to invest on the junior side going forward.

“In that squad we have a player who is only 14 years old (Stacy Awour) who impressed at centre. You can imagine what could become of her if necessary arrangements are put in place to help her,” said Gitau. 

“I believe we had good players at the competition. These are promising players with a bright future. Going forward and in any competition, I hope the government will ensure at least teams gets chance to play international friendly matches prior to major tournaments.”

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