Lacklustre Kenya bow out of World Championship qualifiers - Daily Nation
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Out with a whimper! Lacklustre Kenya bow out of World Championship qualifiers

Thursday August 30 2018

Kenya's Mercy Likhayo (centre) spikes the ball during their their U-20 Africa Cup of Nations Championship match against Cameroon at the Kasarani Indoor Arena on August 30, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Kenya's Mercy Likhayo (centre) spikes the ball during their U-20 Africa Cup of Nations Championship match against Cameroon at the Kasarani Indoor Arena on August 30, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID KWALIMWA
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Kenya on Thursday bowed out of of the ongoing U-20 Africa Cup of Nations Championship after losing 3-1 to Cameroon in their final pool A match at the Kasarani Indoor Arena.

This was Kenya's second loss at the competition after Wednesday's 3-1 defeat to Nigeria.

Cameroon and Nigeria will advance to the semi-finals in first and second place respectively, with Kenya finishing in third place after just one win.

After a bright start which saw the Kenyan girls win 25-20, they were unable to build on the good start and the West Africans rallied to win the next three sets 19-25, 23-25, 27-29.

The results against Cameroon and Nigeria also send a strong statement to the effect that Kenya, which has traditionally received the strongest challenge from North Africa, should now be prepared to face additional challenges from the West African sides.

Speaking after the latest defeat, Kenya coach Paul Gitau explained the delay by some of his star players in joining camp could have contributed to the embarrassing displays.

Betty Sifuna, Stacia Awuor, Emma Nekesa and Mercy Chelimo were some of the latest entrants in camp with the delays occasioned by their participation at the East Africa School Games in Rwanda.

“Overall, we have not clicked during the entire tournament,” a visibly frustrated Kenya coach Paul Gitau pointed out.

“The girls played very well in some phases, but you could see them panic when the going gets tough, we will have a post-mortem to assess things going forward because I am convinced these players are the future of Kenyan volleyball.”

Kenya’s only win of the tournament came against lowly Tanzania in the opening game last Sunday, where the home team ran out comfortable 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-11) winners.

Thus, the home team bows out of the tournament courtesy of an inferior 1:2 win-loss ratio as Nigeria and Cameroon progress to the quarters from this four-team pool.

Kenya made a positive start against a Cameroon side that had already qualified for the semis.

Mercy Likhayo and Immaculate Misiko seemed in charge of the proceedings and especially with their attacks from the centre as the home team strolled to a five-point win the opening set.

Then things fell apart from then.

As has been the case on several occasions, the Kenyan team dropped off physically and also seemed to struggle at the backcourt, allowing a second-string Cameroon team to pick easy points throughout.

Rwanda and tournament favourites Egypt have also sailed through to the last four from the other pool which also consisted Uganda and Mauritius.