Wafalme Stars outshine Malkia Strikers for the first time in many years

VOLLEYBALL Wafalme Stars outshine Malkia Strikers for the first time in many years

Joel Omotto 11:32 - 24.03.2024

Kenya national men’s volleyball team have lived in the shadows of the illustrious Malkia Strikers for many years but they finally outperformed them at the African Games.

Wafalame Stars, Kenya national men’s volleyball team, got one over their female counterparts for the first time in many years after bagging silver while the Malkia Strikers could only manage bronze at the African Games.

Wafalme’s hopes of winning a first gold at the games were quashed by Egypt who beat them 3-0 (25-23 25-21 and 25-18) having come into the final on the back of a 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-17) win over Cameroon in the semi-final on Friday.

It had been a dominant display for the Kenyan men at the games in Accra, starting their campaign with a 3-0 over Chad before handing Ghana a similar defeat at the preliminary round.

They would beat the Gambia 3-0 in the third preliminary match before a similar victory against Burkina Faso in the quarter-final.

While Egypt denied them a gold medal, it was Wafalme Stars’ best performance at the games following the bronze medal that they managed at the 2011 edition in Maputo, Mozambique.

The delayed 2023 continental event also marked their return to the games having missed the 2019 showpiece in Rabat, Morocco.

It shows a great improvement for the side that has live in the shadows of their illustrious women’s counterparts for decades.

Wafalme’s laudable performance was in contrast to Malkia Strikers’ as the Kenyan women failed to make it three straight African Games titles following a third-place finish in Accra.

Japheth Munala’s charges had seen their title defence falter on Friday when they lost 3-2 (25-23, 25-19, 17-25, 24-26 and 13-15) in the semi-final and had to fight it out with hosts Ghana for the consolation prize of bronze.

They won in straight sets of 25-23, 25-15 and 25-25 but it was still a disappointing ending considering they are the African champions.

The third place is a wake-up call to Malkia Striker ahead of the Paris Olympics where they are seeking an improved performance.

However, for Wafalme Stars, it is a result that brings back belief in the men’s game, which many have felt has lagged behind or has not received much support as the women, despite being blessed with immense talent.

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