Malkia Strikers in action against Cameroon during the African Nations Championship in Kigali, Rwanda.[Courtesy-CAVB]

The national women’s volleyball team Malkia Strikers on Monday bounced back to winning ways by thrashing the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 3-0 in straight sets at the 2021 African Nations Championships currently going on in Kigali, Rwanda.

Kenya headed into the match seeking redemption after a poor start on Sunday that saw them go down with a similar score line to defending champions Cameroon.

With both the championship and a World Championship qualification spot at stake, the Paul Bitok led team indeed responded in style by flooring DRC in their second Group B match to get back on the track.

Despite captain Mercy Moim starting from the bench for the second consecutive match, the first set witnessed a dominant display from the Malkia Strikers who led in all technical time outs for a comfortable 25-11 score at the end of the set.

It was a similar scenario again in the second set as Kenya powered their way once more through powerful serves and crucial blocks to take the set 25-12.

The final set witnessed an improved performance from the Congolese women who despite putting in more work were narrowly outscore 25-19 as Kenya bagged it’s first in at the Kigali volleyball tourney.

In the opening group match, a slow start gifted Cameroon a comfortable 3-0 win at the Kigali Arena.

Kenya were looking to build on their 3-2 win over Cameroon during the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers played in Yaoundé earlier this year in January but it was the champions who launch their African title defence on a high.

Malkia found themselves trailing 25-20 in the opening set despite a strong side in  Joy Lusenaka, Leonida Kasaya, Sharon Chepchumba, Edith Wisa, Gladys Ekaru, Pamela Masaisai and Libero Aggripina Kundu staring.

 

Cameroonian middle blocker Stephanie Fotso and outside hitter Moma Bassoko proved too strong for the East Africans in the second set, powering through the Kenyan blocks to take the set 25-21.

Despite Sharon Chepchumba’s efforts which saw her finish as Kenya’s highest scorer with 13 points, Malkia went down 25-19 as Cameroon reigned supreme.

Kenya are now tied in second place in Group B alongside DRC on three points. Cameroon lead the group with six points after their identical straight sets victory over Kenya and Tunisia.

Teams will rest today ahead of Wednesday’s third group match against Tunisia before playing their final match against Burundi on Thursday.

The top two teams (finalists) will qualify for the 2022 World Championships to be hosted in Poland and Netherlands respectively.

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