Mulinge names beach volleyball squads for Olympic qualifiers

Seasoned Gaudencia Makokha of Kenya Pipeline and General Service Unit’s Brian Melly headline the final women and men national beach volleyball teams’ squads for the upcoming African Beach Volleyball Olympic Games qualifiers slated for June 21- 28 in Morocco.

Others in the women squad, which was announced by the head coach Sammy Mulinge Tuesday, are Brackcides Agala and Yvonne Wavinya-both from Kenya Prisons and KCB’s Phosca Kasisi.

The men team will also have Ibrahim Oduor, Enock Mogeni and James Mwaniki.

Naomi Too, who alongside Makokha have represented the country in several international assignments including the 2017 Senior World Championship in Austria, is among three players who were dropped from the women team currently camping at the Flamingo Beach in Mombasa.

Mulinge said he left out the Kenya Pipeline outside hitter, who normally teams up with Makokha, due to fitness issues after she recently recovered from Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury she picked during the 2019 National League play-offs match against Kenya Prisons.

“She (Too) has a good chemistry with Makokha but the qualifiers have come too soon for her but she remains in my plans. I’m sure Wavinya, Kasisi and Agala are equal to the task,” said Mulinge.

Director of Criminal Investigations pair of Maureen Wekesa and Veronica Adhiambo were the other two who did not make the final team of four players.

The two teams will leave the country on Friday, three days before the serve off.

“Despite few weeks of preparations, the two teams are ready to rumble and we will be eyeing to clinch the sole ticket reserved for Africa. We’ve never qualified for the Olympics and it’s something which is achievable this time round,” he added.

Early this year, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) ordered repeat of the second round of the qualifiers following a successful appeal from Kenya who failed to participate owing to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

Kenyan women team will compete against the hosts Morocco, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Ghana, Sudan, South Africa, Tunisia, Sierra Leonne, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Mauritius and Niger.

Kenya will be seeking to be among the top two teams at the end of the event that will later join the already qualified Egypt and emerging Mozambique for the final round that will be staged at the same venue.

Egypt and Mozambique proceeded to the final round after finishing in the first and second position during the 2020 Continental Cup in Entebbe, Uganda.

The men team will fight it out for the final round against 24 opponents led by the hosts Morocco.

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