Malkia strikers put up good show to book Africa Nations Champs semi-final spot

Thursday, September 16th, 2021 08:55 |
Malkia Strikers
Kenyas Malkia Strikers celebrate reaching the Tokyo Olympics in Yaounde Cameroon on Thursday

The national women’s volleyball team Malkia Strikers on Wednesday defeated Tunisia in straight sets to storm the ongoing Africa Nations Volleyball Championships semi-finals at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda.

Kenya is one step away from qualifying for the finals of the 2021 Women’s African Nations Championship after beating Tunisia - 25-20, 25-19 and 25-21 to steady their campaign after losing to defending champions Cameroon in their opening Pool B game.

Tunisia, three-time champions, led from the front with an 8-3 slim margin in the first technical timeout, prompting head coach Paul Bitok to bring on captain Mercy Moim, who again had started from the bench, replacing Pamela Masaisai.

The inclusion of the much experienced Moim elated the Malkia Strikers, who rallied to lead 16-14 in the second technical timeout and went ahead to clinch the first set with 25-20 points.

In the second set, Tunisia butchered their chances as Malkia Strikers led 16-11 in the second time out before going on to win 25-19.

The North Africans tried to salvage their third set by improving on their reception and attacking, but Malkia Stars had other plans, and they won the set 25-21 to extinguish their opponents’ chances of advancing.

Kenya face lowly ranked Burundi, who lost 3-0 against defending champions, on Thursday in their final pool B fixture.  They play on Thursday at 3.00 pm Kenyan time for a ticket to the round of four where hosts Rwanda awaits.

Heading to this game, Kenya head coach Paul Bitok made only one change in his starting six which won against DR Congo 3-0 on Monday, bringing in middle blocker Gladys Ekaru for Lorine Chebet with setter Esther Mutinda once again keeping her position.

Burundi has lost all its previous fixtures to Tunisia and Cameroon and is not expected to give Kenya a hard time.

More on Sports