NAIROBI, Kenya- Just as they had done four years ago in Mexico, the Malkia Junior Strikers had an outing to forget after losing all their group fixtures at the 2017 World Women’s Under 23 Volleyball Championship in Slovenia.
Friday’s 0-4 loss to Japan meant the Kenyans will return home without the scant consolation of bagging a single set after going down by a similar margin to Brazil, Cuba, Turkey and Bulgaria.
The script was identical to the 2013 edition where the Malkia Juniors under the guidance of Sammy Mulinge lost to China, Cuba, Turkey, Brazil and USA to exit the competition without a win.
Speaking to SportPesa News, head coach Catherine Mabwi admitted that Kenya still has a long way to go before causing an upset in the global stage.
“We cannot hide away from the fact that we were totally dominated in the championships.
“It clearly shows the big difference in our game and that of the rest of the world,” the coach told after Japan eased to victory in 15-7, 15-8, 15-6, 15-9.
However, the former Kenyan international believes that the competition offered a good platform for the juniors as they seek to graduate to the senior side in the near future.
“My desire is to have a formidable side from transitioning to the senior team. I know there will be more championships coming up, and this can be a reference,” Mabwi underscored.
Leonida Kasaya, Triza Atuka, Aggripina Kundu, Violet Makuto and Gaudencia Makokha are some of the players who have successfully transitioned to the senior Malkia Strikers from the Under 23s that represented Kenya in Mexico.
Slovenia survived an opening set scare in the hands of Bulgaria to sweep the next four for a 4-1 (11-15, 15-10, 15-12, 18-16, 15-4) semi-final win on Saturday.
Victory set the hosts up for a clash in Sunday’s final against Turkey where it was a historic moment for Slovenia who will appear in any female world championship final of any sport for the very first time.