Volley-ball Malkia Strikers floor Seychelles to kick off title defense on a high

Kenya’s Malkia Strikers made a commanding start at the 2024 Accra African Games, sweeping aside Seychelles in straight sets 3-0 (25-15, 25-8, 25-21) at MUH Multipurpose Hall on Tuesday.

The Japheth Munala-led side kicked off their title defence by winning the first set 25-15 before clinching the second one 25-8. The third set was more competitive for Malkia Strikers as Seychelles pulled a great game and led in the set twice before the Kenyans managed to snatch a close 25-21 lead.

Led by Opposite Pamela Adhiambo and the returning Veronica Adhiambo, Malkia Strikers asserted their authority in the first set as they dominated the island nation from the first whistle. Pamela Adhiambo was lively to watch with Trizah Atuka putting up a brilliant net display to help Kenya take the set.

In the second set, Kenya once again looked dominant taking the game to Seycehlles and they at one time led 24-4 before it ended 25-8. However, the third set proved difficult for Kenya as Seychelles took a shock 5-1 lead before Malkia Strikers pulled a great comeback to carry the day.

Kenya, who won the title in 2015 and 2019, are leading their pool, and coach Munala was impressed with the team’s fighting display.

“It was a good start, what we were looking for but Seychelles were not an easy target, they played well, looked organised after the early sets, and grew with confidence especially, in the third set, which they stretched us to the limit before we got our ways to emerge the winners,” said Munala after the game.

In the other match of the group, Algeria thrashed the Republic of Congo in straight sets whereas the hosts Ghana excelled over the Gambia with the same scoreline. Malkia Strikers will return to the court on Wednesday where they are expected to play either of the other pool opponents; Nigeria, Congo DR, and Algeria.

Malkia’s male peers, Wafalme, who have been placed in Pool A where they will play Ghana, Gambia, and Chad, will kick-off their group campaign against Chad at MUH Multipurpose Hall on Monday. Coach Elisha Aliwa’s charges are making a return to the competition after missing out on the last edition in 2019 in Rabat, Morocco.

Meanwhile, the national men’s beach volleyball team qualified for the knockout rounds after a 2-0 win over their Rwandese pair of Olivier Ntagengwa and Venuste Gatsinzi. The pair of Jairus Kipkosgei and Elphas Makuto made light work of their East African counterparts, winning 22-20 in the first set before excelling 22-19 in the second one. They will next play South Africa in the quarters on Wednesday.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with en.Africatopsports.com.

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