Makokha, Agala to fly Kenya’s flag at C*mmonwealth games

Saturday, July 23rd, 2022 05:58 | By
Brackcides Agala (Left) and Gaudencia Makokha react during a set in Kenya's duel with Brazil at the delayed 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo Japan on July 26 2021. PHOTO/ Volleyball World

Once again Brackcides Agala and Gaudencia Makokha have been selected to represent the country in beach volleyball with the latest call-ups being for the upcoming Commonwealth Games set to take place in Birmingham, UK from July 28 to August 8.

Head coach Salome Wanjala selected the pair ahead of the duo of Phoscah Kasisi and Naomi Too on Thursday after a gruelling two-month training camp in Mombasa.

Despite all the players at her disposal being well experienced in beach volleyball, which will only for the second time be an event at the Commonwealth Games, Wanjala relied heavily on continuity with her selection with Agala and Makokha already having teamed up recently during last month’s World Championships in Italy and as well as in last year’s delayed Olympics in Japan.

Brackcides Agala (Left) and Gaudencia Makokha represented Kenya at the 2020 delayed Tokyo Olympics. PHOTO/ Volleyball World
This year's Commonwealth games will be Gaudencia Makokha (Right) and Brackcides Agala's third major tournament together in the space of a year. PHOTO/ Volleyball World

High level

“Agala and Makokha have been consistent with their performances having played together at a high level and I know the experience they bring with them will be a huge thing for us,” Wanjala, a former international herself said.

The Malkia Strikers will leave for Birmingham on Monday, five days before their tournament opener against New Zealand on July 30.

Kenya has been placed in a tough Group A that aside from the Oceania heavyweights, also includes defending champions from four years ago Canada and African rivals Ghana.

The Malkia Strikers beach volleyball team that will represent Kenya at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. From left; Gaudencia Makokha, Salome Wanjala (Coach) and Brackcides Agala. PHOTO/ Malkia Strikers/ Facebook
Former Kenyan international Salome Wanjala (Centre) will coach Malkia Strikers at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. PHOTO/ Malkia Strikers/Facebook

After New Zealand, Canada will provide the next opposition for Wanjala’s charges on August 1 with Ghana closing out the group stage schedule two days later.

Kenya qualified for the second edition of Commonwealth beach volleyball via a wildcard after failing to do so through the qualification process that saw Ghana sail through.

The Kenyan queens finished third in the qualifiers staged in March in Ghana but earned their slot thanks to governing body FIVB’s “Athlete Allocation System (Version 4)” as well as global rankings. With Morocco, not a member of the Commonwealth and occupying the first two continental placings, Kenya earned its place at this year’s games.

Brazil camp

Elsewhere, the national women’s indoor volleyball team Malkia Strikers, that is in Brazil preparing for the 2022 World Championships, is set to play two friendly matches against the national U21 Brazilian side on Friday and Saturday in Saquarema.

Paul Bitok’s charges left their Sao Paulo training base for Saquarema, which is about 70km East of the capital Rio de Janeiro, on Thursday and travelled for eight hours by road, arriving in the early hours of Friday morning (Kenyan time).

The indoors Malkia Strikers team is set to play two friendly matches against the Brazilian national U21 team in their preparations towards the 2022 World Championships in September and October. PHOTO/ Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF)
The Malkia Strikers indoors team that is currently in Brazil. PHOTO/ Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF)

The team will hold a two-hour training session on Friday morning before taking on the Brazilian juniors from 6 pm Brazilian time which will be 11 pm Kenyan time.

The nine-time African champions have already played two friendly matches since their arrival in Brazil three weeks ago against Superliga A side Osasco Club, who are their hosts in the South American nation, and Sesi Sorocaba of Superliga B. Despite losing the first game to Osasco, Malkia regrouped to win in staright sets against Sorocaba earlier this week.

Below is the team that is in Brazil;

Outside Hitters - Noel Murambi, Mercy Moim, Yvonne Wavinya and Veronica Adhiambo, Meldine Sande

Middle Blockers - Belinda Barasa, Gladys Ekaru, Edith Wisa, Magdaline Mwende and Lorine Chebet

Opposite Attackers - Violet Makuto and Sharon Chepchumba

Setters - Veronica Kilabat and Emmaculate Nekesa

Liberos - Veronica Makokha and Aggripina Kundu

Coach - Paul Bitok, Assistant Coach - Japheth Munala

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