NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s qualification to the 2018 World
Championships in Japan may be the biggest achievement for the
women’s volleyball team in 2017.
However, it will
still remain a pipe dream for the former African giants to curve
a niche at the global showpiece, where they are still scouring
for their first victory despite having been at this level of
competition a record seven times.
It is a challenge
head coach Japheth Munala is keen to take in his strides as he
gets his first shot at the global championships, having
previously understudied his senior David Lung’aho.
“We have to be
focused. Everyone is keen to win and the only thing we can be
happy of in this caliber of competition is that you always learn
something and the players always get better experience at
playing on the big stage,” said Munala.
Yet for its all
success, 2017 was also a year that the women’s volleyball team
will want to forget fast after they failed to secure the Africa
Nations Cup title, losing out to host Cameroon in Yaoundé in
“It was unfair. We
had all the plans, but we lacked the killer punch and Cameroon
deserved the win,” said Munala.
The only solace from
the tournament was that the top two teams qualified for the
World Championships in Japan. And coach Munala is optimistic he
will get his revenge in Japan next season when the two teams
clash in the preliminary rounds.
Kenya remain the
most successful team in women volleyball from Africa. They have
clinched the continental title a record nine times, Egypt have
won it six times while Cameroon claimed their maiden title at
The big difference
and high improvement by Cameroon can be tagged to the fact that
they represented Africa at the Grand Prix and the Olympics
Games, where they gained more exposure and skills. Kenya missed
out in both events despite coach Munala having some of the
veteran players like Jane Wacu and Janet Wanja to his disposal.
West Africans were vouched to pose a higher threat in the
competition as they had invested heavily in training abroad
prior to the tourney.
Despite the loss,
Kenya duo captain Mercy Moim and Edith Wisa were declared the
best attacker and best blocker respectively and the coach is
optimistic they will carry to the World Championships their good
However, lack of
government support and access to indoor facility to train may
also have contributed to Kenya’s poor show, which the coach
believes they must work hard to overcome similar challenges
ahead of the World Championships in 2018.
Munala is now
banking on the quality within his ranks and the experience
gained to guide the team to success in the new season.
In Japan, Kenya will
not have an easy sail to the second round as they must navigate
precariously against tough rivals like Serbia, Brazil, Dominican
Republic, Puerto Rico and Kazakhstan in Pool D.
Championships will run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 20.