The hopes of the Nigeria Women’s Volleyball team reaching the semi-final of the ongoing African Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Yaounde, Cameroon has been dashed after getting thrashed 3-0 by 2021 runners-up Kenya on Tuesday.
The Nigerian team started the championship strongly with a 3-0 demolition of the Malians but ended the group games with 2 wins and 3 defeats. Losing back to back against North African foes Egypt, and agonizingly against Algeria.
The loss against Algeria resulted in a tough draw against nine times champions Kenya in the quarter-final which was played on Tuesday at the Palais Polyvalent des Sports de Yaoundé.
The Paul Bitok-led side dominated the game from start to finish, securing a solid win 25-14 in the first set.
Also dominating the second and third sets, as well with an emphatic 25-17, 25-12 victory.
The head coach of Nigeria’s Senior Women’s Volleyball Team, Samuel Ajayi said he has to praise his team despite the loss.
Mr Ajayi said it’s a new team with young players, who would get better at playing in such competitions.
He said, “I have to praise my team, my team is very young, as far as this tournament is concerned. If we look at the calibre of teams they’ve met on their way, they’ve improved and didn’t give too much respect to any team.”
“I so much believe in my team, I trust them in what they are doing, it’s a new team that we are building, and most of the players are from the U-19 and U-21, and I believe that with a competition like this going, they would be able to build up their confidence, and before you know it, they would rule Africa again.”
With the comprehensive win against Nigeria, which saw Kenya continue her unbeaten run, the Malkia Strikers are now tagged as one of the favorites for the championship.
In the other Quarter-Final fixtures, North Africans Egypt trounced East Africans Uganda 3-0 (25–13, 25–18, 25–11) in the early Kickoff and are set to face Rwanda in the Semis.
Rwanda on the other hand restored the pride of the region shortly after by getting a narrow 3-2 (23–25, 15–25, 25–18, 25–23, 16–14) win against their North African opponents Algeria.
Cameroon came to the party in full force as well in the last game of the day, seeing off North African opposition Morocco in a sublime 3-0 (25–17, 25–23, 25–18) massacre. The Cameroonians would be hoping to get one over Kenya when they meet in the semis.
Uganda would do battle with Algeria by 8 am Nigerian Time on Wednesday while, the Nigerians would be hoping to exit the championship with a flourish, against another North African side, Morocco right after, by 10 a.m., for a 5th-8th placement finish.