Tunisia first to arrive for volleyball Africa Nations Cup
12 September 2013, 19:00
Nairobi - Tunisia arrived in Nairobi Wednesday with confidence that they will seize the Africa Cup of Nations women trophy away from Kenya's cabinet when the tournament starts on Saturday.
Nine top volleyball-playing nations will converge in Nairobi for the weeklong tournament, in which the winner will represent the continent at the World Championships.
Kenya won the last tournament, two years ago also in Nairobi, by beating Algeria 3-1 in the finals.
Egypt finished third with Cameroon fourth. All the four teams will be in Nairobi for the tournament alongside Tunisia, Senegal, DRC, Ethiopia and Gabon.
"It is going to be a competitive championship with nine countries taking part. All teams are strong and there are no clear favourites. Kenya as host must dig their heels deep to claim the silverware," said Charles Nyaberi, Kenya Volleyball Federation Vice Chairman.
However, Nyaberi said he was disappointed that Uganda and Botswana, who had earlier put in their confirmation to take part in the event, have withdrawn.
The event will rekindle the perennial rivalry between hosts and defending champions, Kenya against African representatives at the London Olympics Games Algeria and powerhouses Cameroon.
When you throw in emerging Tunisians and Egypt, then the weak at heart will have a hard time. Tunisia, who produced some of the finest women's national and club sides in the 90s, are not taking any chances.
"Tunisia jetted in this morning to acclimatize. Cameroon, who spoilt the party for Kenya in the 2011 All Africa Games by beating them in the semis, are also coming in early on Wednesday night while DRC and Senegal are expected tomorrow (Thursday)," said Nyaberi.
Already Kenya has named a 12-strong squad to take part in the tournament. Head Coach David Lung'aho is sticking to experience in his line-up and has selected Bracksides Agala as his captain.
"The team is a perfect blend of experience and new young talent " said Lung'aho. "They were selected on merit and in view of the caliber of opposition in the tournament. I believe we will weather the storm."
The senior team has been training together with the National Under-23 outfit that is preparing for the World Under-23 Championships in Tijuana, Mexico next month.
Kenya Team -- Bracksides Agala, Diana Khisa, Jane Wacu, Everlyne Makuto, Elizabeth Nafula and Mercy Moim, Janet Wanja, Violet Makuto, Esther Wangeci, Monica Biama, Ruth Chepng'etich, Gaudencia Makokha.