Senegal, Kenya win African Nations Champs openers

13 June 2015

2015 Women's African Nations Championship- Day 1

 

 

Nairobi, Kenya June 12, 2015- Senegal came from two sets down to stun 2013 Silver medalists, Cameroon 3-2 (20-25, 25-27,25-16,25-20,15-12) in an entertaining five set thriller on day one of the 2015 Women's African Nations Championship that served off Friday in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

Senegal who came onto the match as minnows surprised Cameroon, seeded top in group B when they stopped Akono Jean Rene charges at the second set with Cameroon enjoying an early (25-20,27-25) lead in the first two sets.

 

Senegalese Captain Diouck Fatou and her opposite, Sow Binetou came back into the third set after a 10 minute break to steer Senegal to a 25-16 victory with nice executions aided by defence from Dacosta Binetou and Biaye Bineta to take the game 2-1.

 

Fatou who won Silver with Norkhornnont in the Thailand's league praised her team mates for the dramatic win in a post match interview.

 

"We took time to adapt in the first two sets because we came late for the warm up and the referee didn't give us enough time to warm," said Fatou who has also played in France and Finland.

 

Defending champions and hosts Kenya beat Mauritius by straight sets (25-12, 25-13, 25-17) in a one sided second match of the day played at the 6,000 sitter Kasarani Indoor Arena.

 

Kenya, otherwise known locally as 'MALKIA STRIKERS' who are using this championship as a build up to the June 26th world Grand Prix in Mexico- won the match (25-12, 25-13, 25-17).

 

 Kenyan coach, David Lung'aho made changes to his starting list, pulling out assistant captain, Janet Wanja for Jane Wacu with Esther Wangeci coming in for Lydia Maiyo on the right attack position but the gamble almost cost the team the third set when they allowed Mauritius to take the first lead, immediately after the first technical time out which the host were leading (8-7). Mauritius maunted scathing attack on Kenya who surrendered the lead for the first time (9-8), with the two teams going head-to-head 10-10,11-11, 13-13, 14-14. But with local fans rallying fully behind them, defending champions, Kenya who are searching for a record ninth title opened a two point gap 17-15 before winning the match 25-17.

 

"We laxed after the second set but the most important thing is to win the opening match. Maybe next time we will not sit on the bench at the (10 minute) break, it almost cost us a set, " Kenyan coach, Lung'aho observed after the match.

 

Mauritius Captain, Nathalie Letendrie who has played for the national team for the last 13 years said. "That was nice match but we respect the other team. This is the first time we are playing in an international match; we came here to have experience." said the Captain who plays for Azur Sporting Club back at home.

 

Coach Lindlay Wilson who has been with the Mauritius side for only six months observed: "That was a very difficult game because we were playing against Africa champions. Going forward, I just want to win two more games and progress as the tournament goes on."

 

Tunisia will open their title campaign against Morocco Saturday with Botswana clashing with Senegal. Kenya will play her second match on Sunday against Algeria, starting 4pm and Lung'aho plans to play a fast match against the side who denied them 2012 Olympic slot.

 

The match will proceed a clash between Tunisia against Senegal (2pm) and Botswana versus Mauritius which will open the day from 12 noon.

 

By Elvince Joshua from Kenya