Yesterday, we have previewed the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship teams for Argentina and Brazil. Now, we will focus on the teams that qualified from the African Volleyball Confederation: the up-start Cameroon and the dominant Kenya.
Cameroon women’s volleyball team – lion’s uprising
Even though Cameroon is a latecomer in international competitions, they have been competing in the All-Africa Games and the African Championship since 2003. On the big stage, they have competed in the 2006 and 2014 Women’s World Championship, the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix. While their best finish among all world competitions is 11th, there is no doubt that the Lions have clawed their way up the African volleyball rankings.
The 18th best team in the world as per FIVB rankings won the 2017 African Championship and have dominated Egypt, Algeria, Botswana, and Senegal in the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championship qualifiers. As a tune-up for the said tournament, they also participated in the Montreux Masters for the first time.
Coach Jean-Rene Akono’s squad will be bannered by team captain Christelle Tchoudjang, Stepahnie Fotso Mogoung, Abdoulkarim Fawziya who are playing professionally for VBC Chamalières in the French Lige A Féminine. Tchoudjang led Cameroon to their first African Championship with 14 points and got support from Violet Makuto who had 10. Another player to watch for the Lions is Moma Bassoko who tallied 20 points against Senegal in the African Championship semifinal.
Cameroon will play in Pool A of the FIVB Women’s World Championship 2108 together with hosts Japan, Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, and Mexico.
Kenya women’s volleyball team – dynasty in shambles
Kenya has been the team to beat in Africa over the last two decades. They have not finished lower than third since the 1987 All-Africa Games and they have won all but two African Women’s Volleyball Championships since 1991. They have also participated in two Olympic Games, three FIVB World Grand Prix, five World Cups, and five World Championships. However, their dominance has been halted by Cameroon in the 2017 African Championship.
Playing with homecourt disadvantage, the Malkia Strikers were dethroned in straight sets, 25-22, 25-19, and 29-27. Thus, they are looking to regain their footing by having a good showing at the World Championship. The fate of head coach Japheth Munala and the Kenyan national squad will rest heavily on the performance of middle blocker Edith Wisa, outside hitter Mercy Moim, and Edith Mukuvulani.
Wisa and Moim combined for 27 points against Egypt while Mukuvulani topped in scoring against Senegal with 15. Janet Wanja and Jane Wacu will run the offense for Kenya while middle blocker Trizah Atuka and open spiker Noel Murambi can surprise the competition with their forceful hits. Kenya will play in Pool D of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship 2018 with world champions Brazil, Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Puerto Rico, and Serbia.