Monday February 24 2014

Uganda fourth as Tunisia deny Kenya World Cup slot

Evelyn Makuto of Kenya blocks Uganda’s Saidat

Evelyn Makuto of Kenya blocks Uganda’s Saidat Nnungi duriing the opening match of the World Championship qualifiers in Nairobi last week. Kenya were denied a World Championship ticket by Tunisia. COURTESY PHOTO 

By clive kyazze

The Lady Volleyball Cranes ended their World Championship qualification campaign with a 3-1 defeat to Senegal to finish fourth overall on Saturday.

Coach Tony Lakony altered his lineup as he replaced Josephine Nammanda with Maureen Mwamula and Irene Adeke with Saidat Nnungi.

He also handed Eunice Nuwabigaba the setting duties from Milly Laker, but retained Asteede Aggaba, Eunice Amuron and captain Christine Alupo. Uganda showed early signs of upsetting another African giant when they took the set first set 25-19. They were, however, later stunned as the West Africans rallied strongly.

Senegal won the second set 25-18 and the Lady Volleyball Cranes started to panic. The third yielded nothing as Uganda continued to make too many errors on service, block, reception and cover. Tunisia won it 25-15.

Uganda plotted a comeback in the fourth, maintaining a two point lead until it was 22-20. Senegal then fought back to win the set 25-22.

“We were determined to end our campaign on a high but it just didn’t happen,” said Alupo. “Nevertheless, lessons have been learnt. I am confident we will put up a better show next time,” she added.

Tunisia, meanwhile, silenced a fully packed Moi International Sports Centre when they defeated eight-time African champions Kenya 3-2 (25-21, 24-26, 15-25, 28-26, 15-10), to qualify for the World Championships due this September.

Kenya who have played at the last three World Championship desperately needed to win in memory of Mercy Moim’s mother, who died on Thursday. Moim is Africa’s reigning most valuable player.

Tunisia, though, had other ideas and worked tirelessly to top the qualification standings on 15 points and earn themselves a World Championship slot. Kenya finished second on 13 with Senegal third on nine.
Uganda amassed five points, finishing ahead of Sychelles (three) and Mozambique (one).