Malkia Strikers shine again, beat Egypt to win African Nations Championship

Mercy Moim, the captain of the Malkia Strikers, collapsed on the floor of the spotless Palais Polyvalent des Sports (Paposy) Arena and sobbed hysterically, possibly overcome by emotion.

In Yaounde, she was guiding the squad to a record-extending 10th African Nations Championship victory. She had last claimed this trophy eight years prior at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani.

On August 24, 2023, in Yaounde, Cameroon, Malkia Strikers players celebrate a goal during the Africa Nations Championship championship game against Egypt. Kenya triumphed by a score of 3-0.

Her ace sealed Kenya’s well-earned 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-14) victory over Egypt in the championship game. Kenya barely made a mistake throughout the whole contest.

Following Malkia Strikers’ victory over Egypt, President William Ruto was among the first dignitaries to offer his congratulations.

The President had followed the team’s progress all the way to the championship game.

President William Ruto was among the first leaders to congratulate Malkia Strikers after their win over Egypt.

The President had been following the team’s performance all the way to the final.

“Congratulations to the Malkia Strikers on reaching the final of the Women’s Africa Volleyball Championship and earning a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics,” he said before Thursday night’s final.

“Finish the job against Egypt in the final tonight and come home as Queens of Africa. Kenya will be watching and cheering,” he said.

Luizomar de Moura’s charges opened a three-point lead when Edith Wisa killed an overpass from Nada Meawad with an amazing dunk. But it was soon cut to just a point when Mohamed Maya produced an ace from a targeted float serve on Mercy Moim.

The Kenyan skipper registered an ace of her own before Sharon Chepchumba’s fierce spike forced Mohamed Nawar to call for a timeout with Kenya leading 10-5.

The pep talk yielded a mini-revival for the girls in red and black inspired by Nada but a ferocious kill from Moim restored Kenya’s five-point lead at 16-11.

Nawar then introduced Doaa Elghobashy and Emam Dana in a bid to salvage the set yet it was Chepchumba who landed a devastating pipe to send Kenya ahead 20-15.

A series of errors from Kenya saw Egypt close in at 21-19 but Chepchumba bailed Kenya out with four crucial points to seal the set at 25-22.

Malkia Strikers opposite Sharon Chepchumba celebrates a point during the Africa Nations Championship final match against Egypt in Yaounde, Cameroon on August 24, 2023. Kenya won 3-0.

Elghobashy and Dana started the second set as Nawar made two changes to his first team. Both sides exchanged leads until Moim’s ace handed Kenya a three-point advantage at 8-5.

Trizah Atuka’s block on Nada lifted Kenya to a 10-7 lead and Nawar summoned May Ghazal to replace Aya Ahmed.

Adhiambo went cross court to increase Kenya’s lead to four points at 17-13 and it was Malkia Striker’s set to lose when Atuka’s sideout through the middle took the scoreline to 20-16.

Luizomar made two changes, introducing Rose Magoi and Loise Simiyu for Chepchumba and Emmaculate Nekesa. The two substitutes had an instant impact as Simiyu made a monster block on Hazem Zeina who had been brought in for Sarah Ahmed.

Magoi’s ace lifted Kenya to 23-17 and once again it’s Chepchumba who had the last say with two decisive points for the set to end 25-20 in favour of Kenya.

Adhiambo single-handedly carried Kenya to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set with two kills and a monster block on Mohamed Maya. Egypt’s frustrating night was epitomised by Nada’s pipe which went wide for Kenya to lead 9-3.

A brief block party saw Moim and Wisa earn Kenya two successive points for a 12-6 lead. Adhiambo then shut out Nada with a solid block as Kenya opened a nine-point lead and it was the Kenya number 2 who fired a pipe to settle the tie as a contest at 22-13.

Moim delivered the match point and the captain took matters into her own hands with an ace to complete the job at 25-14.

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