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Kenya, Uganda women survive day one of World Champ Qualifiers despite rough journey

 
Kenya team carrying the 2013 Women's African Nations Championship

Kampala, Uganda, October 17, 2013 - Despite a difficult journey to MTN Arena in Lugogo, African champions Kenya walked away with a win at day one of the FIVB World Championship Zone 5 (group Q) qualifiers. 

Day one also saw a Uganda win over Tanzania, putting them closer to January's finals.  The Kenya's women, who lead the African teams in the FIVB rankings, are already qualified for the finals. 

Kenya v Egypt 3-2 (25-16, 21-25, 17-25, 25-15, 15-13)

Traveling along the Nairobi-Naivasha Highway, the bus carrying the 2013 Women's African Nations Champions was struck by a trailer Tuesday night, delaying their trip for two hours. 

Luckily, no one was injured in the accident, and the team managed to proceed on their Modern Express Bus, reaching the Busia boarder at 8:00 local time Wednesday and Kampala shortly before 13:00. 

“It was a minor accident and we are all fine,” head coach David Lung’aho said.

Kenya retained the Africa Cup of Nations after beating all their opponents- Egypt, Tunisia, Cameroon, Senegal and Algeria in the last month's African Nations Championship.

The accident didn't seem to shake up the women too much, although fans thought Kenya's win against Egypt would be easier than it was. The eight time African Champions were stretched by a relatively experienced Egyptians.

The reigning African champions took a comfortable 25-16 lead after claiming the first set in just 22 minutes. Egypt showed resilience as they endured the 28 minutes of the second set to win it 25- 21 to tie the game.

Kenya struggled in the third set giving away easy four points on poor reception from Mercy Moim and Esther Wangeci. Egyptian Libero Nehal Ahmed tormented the Kenyans with her well timed cover every time she was on court. Egypt took the lead with 25-17 scores. 

Kenya has a breath of fresh air, leading 8-7 by the first TTO of the fourth set, by the second it 16-12, Kenya claimed it 25-15 to force a decisive set.  The decisive brought the best out of the two sides in terms of reception attack, cover and defense,  but eventually Kenya claimed it 15-13.

Kenya team included some of the Kenya Prisons and the National Under-23 team players who arrived in the country on Monday and Tuesday from Switzerland and Mexico respectively. Those from the Under-23 team are Gaudencia Makokha (Nairobi Water) and Violet Makuto (Kenya Prisons).

Uganda v Tanzania 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 30-28)

Uganda fought to claim three straight sets against a hard fighting Tanzania in a match lasting an hour and 30 minutes. Tanzania, however, put up a fair fight, blocking and covering with zeal, and their serves always had Uganda on high alert.

Uganda claimed a comfortable 2-0 lead after scores of 25-20 in the first and second sets. But a stubborn Tanzania failed to control their nerves when they took a 19-24 lead in the third. Saidat Nnungi served six times to force deuce. Uganda composed themselves and eventually won the set 30-28. Tanzania showed a lot of improvement in their service, net defense and court cover.



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