Kenya volleyball team overcome Uganda ahead of tough Rwanda test
National men’s volleyball team came from behind to defeat Uganda by 3-2 sets as the Zone Five All African Games qualifiers got underway on Monday at the Kasarani Indoor Arena.
After falling behind to the neighbors in the first set with 25-22, the Moses Epoloto coached side rallied back to claim the second set 25-21 and made it 2-1 in the third set with an identical win before the opponents cancelled the lead with a 27-25 win to send the tie to the full distance.
In the do or die fifth set, it was a breakneck battle between the two arch-rivals but buoyed by massive home ground support, ever-green Mike Chemos proved his mettle with his classic hard hitting spike giving the Kenyans a 3-2 win after the final set ended 15-12.
Kenya, the 2011 bronze Africa Games medalists will take on Rwanda on Tuesday in their second match of the tournament organised in a round-robin format before facing off Egypt in the final tie on Wednesday.
In his reflections, Epoloto decried poor reception as the only undoing which according to him cost the team all the points.
“Reception still remains our biggest challenge but I’m happy for the boys for the hard fought win. We should collect all the three points in the remaining matches to clinch the single ticket,” he told Citizen Digital.
Rwanda under tutelage of Kenyan coach Paul Bitok who extended his engagement with the East African team last week with a one-year deal, fall 3-1 against Egypt in their opening match and the latter has vowed to bounce back against his own home team.
Bitok who has been in Rwanda for more than a decade said he will be professional against Kenya.” Yes I will be facing my home team but I must respect my contract with my employers, he said, adding: ” I will capitalise on their weaknesses tomorrow and believe me I will be happy to win against Kenya. Kenyans should forgive me,” Bitok warned.
The three- day competition has attracted four teams and the overall winner will clinch the Africa Games sole Zone Five ticket.