Despite putting up a good fight against Egypt on Wednesday, Kenya finished last in the African Games Zone V qualifiers after going down 3-1 (19-25, 25-23, 26-28, 20-25) to the North Africans at Kasarani.
Subsequently, Egypt booked their slot in the 2019 African Games after finishing top with nine points, five ahead of second-placed Uganda who were forced to dig deep to end Rwanda’s 15-year dominance over them with a 3-1 win (25-23, 28-26, 18-25, 35-33) in another match played earlier at the same venue.
Rwanda finished third with three points while Kenya remained bottom with two.
On a day when every Kenyan player touched the ball, the reserve players gave a good account of themselves notably the quartet of Bonfentry Mukhehkhe, Kelvin Omuse, Sammy Ngeny and Kelvin Kipkosgei.
Mukhekhe specifically turned in a fantastic performance in the second set where Kenya displayed arguably their best volleyball since the tournament started two days ago.
But still their best was not enough as the Egyptians showed their class in the next set where they capitalised on every mistake from the men in red to win 28-26.
“We need support for men’s volleyball so that we can perform at the same level as the women. We have a four-year strategic plan for the men’s game and we hope that sponsors will support us. We have the talent but we have to develop it to the required international standards with time,” said Kenya coach Moses Epoloto after his side gave away a four-point lead to lose the third set.
Deflated and confidence dwindling, Kenya went on to lose the fourth set 25-20. The trio of Ahmed Said, Hisham Yousri and Ahmed Abdelaal were specifically peerless in attack for the Egyptians who will now represent the zone in the continental games set for August in Morocco.
“I am happy with our performance in this tournament since we have displayed good volleyball against three very good teams. The level of East African teams is really high and they have given us a good challenge. We shift our focus to the Africa Cup of Nations and Olympic qualifiers,” said Egypt coach Gido Vermeulen.
Uganda 3-1 Rwanda (25-23, 28-26, 18-25, 35-33)
Kenya 1-3 Egypt (19-25, 25-23, 26-28, 20-25)