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Kenya face Cameroon in the Africa Nations Cup final tonight

In Summary

• Kenya and Cameroon booked a date in the Africa Nations Cup final on Sunday after beating their respective opponents in the semi-final matches played on Saturday night. 

• This will be the second time in the tournament the two sides are meeting having faced off in the preliminary round, where Kenya carried the day. 

National Volleyball team players pause for a photo after they won against Senegal.
National Volleyball team players pause for a photo after they won against Senegal.
Image: COURTESY

Kenya and Cameroon booked a date in the Africa Nations Cup final on Sunday after beating their respective opponents in the semi-final matches played on Saturday night. 

This will be the second time in the tournament the two sides are meeting having faced off in the preliminary round, where Kenya carried the day. 

The Kenya team also known as Malkia Strikers, beat Senegal 3-0 in one while Cameroon beat Egypt 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-18) in another semi final match. 

Senagal and Egypt will now face off for bronze glory.Cameroon are the defending champions having beaten Kenya 3-0 during the 2017 event at their backyard.

In the match against Senegal, the Kenya technical bench made four changes to the line up that did duty in their last group B match against Cameroon on Thursday night, resting Brackcides Agala, Elizabeth Wanyama, Violet Makuto and Sharon Chepchumba for Triza Atuka, Agrippina Kundu, Immaculate Chemtai, and Noel Murambi.

The four, alongside captain Mercy Moim, Janet Wanja and Edith Wisa made work light of Senegal, leading at both the technical time outs of the first set 8-2 and second 16-8 as Atuka and Chemtai excelled in their respective departments.

Murambi, Wisa and Wanja combined well as the East Africans extended lead 22-8 en-route bagging the set 25-13.

In the second set, Kenya once again took the lead at both TTOs 8-6 and 16-9 with Wanja and Murambi paving way for Jane Wacu and Sharon Chepchumba as Kenya continued to torment the Central Africans with their well organised game.

Senegal would later destabilise their opponents with hard services and bagged points here and there but it was not enough as they still trailed 12-23 as Kenya sealed the set with 25-13.

The third set was closely contested as Senegal grew in the match but Kenyans still squeezed an 8-7 lead at the first TTO.

Fast-rising Gladys Ekaru rested Wisa as the team continued to bag points at will to lead 16-14 at the second TTO.

Destined for win, Kenya led 21-16 and 23-17 before winning the set and the match altogether with 25-20 win.

In an interview, team captain Moim once again decried failure by the government to support the team.

“ It’s the same problem year in, year out. The government has never given volleyball team the much needed support and we wonder why when we bring accolades to the nation," she said.

Moim who plays for Kenya Prisons said, "When I was a junior player nothing was forthcoming, I’m almost going into retirement and script is same. It’s really unfair we get nothing from the government when we deserve more".

Middle blocker Triza Atuka shared Moim’s sentiment, saying it no longer surprises her that the government doesn’t recognise them.

“Senegal came into this match with nothing to lose. For us, we are here to protect the name and I’m glad we are on course," she said.

She added, "It hurts that while we are here representing the nation, there is no recognition and support from the government".

Atuka said interestingly, Harambee Stars received better treatment yet, "We are featuring at the same level". 

She said she was however happy that they had played so well so far and they want to win that title for their fans in Kenya.