Nairobi, Kenya, June 20, 2015 – African powerhouse Kenya claimed their ninth African title on Saturday, beating North African giants Algeria 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-20) in the final of the 2015 Women's African Nations Championship in Nairobi.
Both finalists secured the two African tickets for 2015 FIVB World Cup to be staged in Japan from August 22 to September 6.
It was the third straight title for Kenya, who also won in 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013. Algeria’s only title came in 2009.
Cameroon captured the bronze medal following their thrilling victory over struggling Senegal 3-2 (25-19, 23-25, 14-25, 25-13, 17-15).
Kenya 3, Algeria 0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-20)
Kenya announced their intention of winning their ninth title with the first ball. Evelyn Makuto sent the ball across with a powerful attack and a second by Esther Wangeci helped them take a 2-0 lead. But a gritty Algeria forced a 2-2 tie. Algerian setter, Oukari Zahra was punished for lifting the ball and the mistake helped Kenya take an 8-5 lead into the first technical timeout.
Kenya further stretched their lead to 13-7, 18-10 and 21-15 but a poor service by Makuto and a block from Algeria's Lydia Oloumou helped the visitors score two points to take the score to 21-17. The hosts dug in and took the next four points and the set.
The 6,000-capacity Kasarani Gymnasium was filled to the brim and those fans who came late were locked out.
Algeria started strongly in the second set, taking a 4-2 lead but Kenya, playing their 10th final caught up at 5-5. Things stayed close after that and Algeria cut Kenya’s lead from 15-12 to level at 17. But a small pep talk by Kenyan coach David Lung'aho after a timeout saw his side win the set 25-21.
Algeria forced Kenya to commit silly mistakes, which saw them take an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout of the third set. Jane Wacu, Kenya’s setter was pulled for Janet Wanja and Kenya's services improved to help open up a five-point lead at 10-5. All was well for Algeria until the last 10 minutes of the game when Kenya mounted a strong attack which helped them catch up at 18-18 having trailed 7-12, 9-15 and 13-17. And they didn’t stop, taking the set 25-20 to secure the title.
Cameroon 3, Senegal 2 (25-19, 23-25, 14-25, 25-13, 17-15)
Cameroon took the opening set 25-19 but their defence weakened in the subsequent set allowing Senegal to take the lead from the first service to open an 8-3 lead. But with the match tied 23-23, Amadou Sene introduced Ndiaye Bineta in place of Seck Mbayang who won a vital point when she forced a block. A poor service from Cameroon's Bikatal Simone into the net helped Senegal come back. Diagne Marieme killed the set with a powerful spike after Cameroonians failed to block, helping Senegal level the scores 1-1.
Senegal's Seck Mbayang and Marieme erected firm blocks that helped their side to an 8-2 lead. Akono's charges were tense and lost concentration in the set resulting in poor reception to allow Senegal to run away with a 25-14 win.
Senegal were hurt when Mbayang twisted her right ankle and Cameroon took advantage to dominate the fourth set, cruising to a 16-7 lead. Laxity in Senegal's camp helped Cameroon clinch the set to send the game to a deciding fifth set.
It was a neck-and-neck battle in the set but poor services by Senegal gifted Cameroon the match at 17-15.
MVP: Everline Makuto (Kenya)
Best Setter: Jane Wachu (Kenya)
Best Receiver: Moma Bassoko (Cameroon)
Best Libero: Nafula Wanyama (Kenya)
Best Attacker: Fatou Diuock (Senegal)
Best Blocker: Ruth Jepngetich (Kenya)
Best Server: Lydia Oloumou (Algeria)
Final and Bronze medal