Makokha, Agala to fly Kenya’s flag at Commonwealth games
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.
“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.
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.
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 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