National volleyball men’s team started off their campaign on a sour taste in the ongoing Men’s African Nations Championship after succumbing to a straight 3-0 (25-16, 26-24, 25-16) defeat in the hands of unfamiliar opponents Ghana in Cairo, Egypt yesterday.
The championship that also serves as the Men’s World Cup Qualifiers has enlisted 14 countries across the continent with Kenya drawn in Pool B alongside Ghana, Tunisia and Libya. Ghana started was on top of its game in the first set as they opened what would prove to be an unsalable lead (16-7) by the call of the third technical time out by Kenya’s tactician Moses Epoloto.
Kenya lacked precision in its attacks as their opponents effectively neutralised their threats for the rest of the first set and easily sealed it 25-16. The second set was a closely contested as Kenya looked to have rectified their mistakes and regained their cutting edge.
Epoloto’s charges recovered on several occasions to tie the score at 9-9, 20-20 and 24-24 before Ghanaians proved their prowess to hammer home two crucial points to make it 26-24, easing pressure as they headed to the third set leading 2-0.
Kenya crumbled again in the third set as their opponents dominated with little resistance to bag the set 25-16 and register their first victory in the championships. The defeat has put the youthful Kenyan team under pressure ahead of their second match against North African giants Tunisia today before wrapping up their group stage fixtures against Libya tomorrow.
Unlike their female counterparts have dominated the continental volleyball women stage for ages and have already booked a berth at the World Championships, the men’s team is yet to earn their place in among revered teams in the category. During the 2015 edition Kenya posted a dismal performance after finishing at position eight out of the nine participating countries and it remains to be seen if Epoloto guide the team to better exploits.