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KEN/KENYA 

Kenya is by far and away the leading women’s Volleyball nation in Africa with a record of success that cannot be matched on the continent. With six African Nations Cup triumphs and having previously represented Africa at the Olympic Games and the World Championships, Kenya will undoubtedly do their continent proud again in Athens.

In reaching their second successive Olympics, Kenya – currently number 24 in the women’s world Volleyball rankings – has shown excellent powers of recovery as the lead up to qualification for the competition did not prove quite so fruitful for this African nation. Losing out in the 2003 African Nations Championship final to Egypt was considered a big disappointment, especially as Kenya was hosting the tournament. That was followed by a third place finish at the All Africa Games in Nigeria two months later. However, when Egypt and Nigeria were disposed of in the Olympic Qualification tournament, it was clear that Kenya had recovered from the previous slip-ups and had once again returned to their position as the best team in Africa.

The head coach of the Kenyan team, Abdul Muge has created a successful mixture of experienced, professional players and young emerging talent.Violet Barasa (29) is considered the most influential player within the team as she has earned professional experience with the African Club Champions, Al-Ahly of Egypt and Vileo of Romania. Barasa is currently playing with Panellinios of Greece. She led her country at the last World Championships in Germany, 2002, where Kenya finished 21st and also to 11th position at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Another of Kenya’s more experienced stars is 30-year-old Roselidah Obunaga who presently plies her trade with the Southwest Missouri State University team in USA. Obunaga has also represented her country at the Sydney Olympics. The majority of the remainder of the squad play for Kenyan league champions Pipelines. The efficient libero Mercy Wesutila and centre blocker Catherine Wanjiro along with Dorcas Ndasaba, 33, represent the backbone of the team.