What you need to know:
- Herbots Britt led Belgium with 16 points (14 kills, 1 block, 1 ace), while Kenya's top scorer was Sharon Chepchumba with 13 points, all from attack.
In Arnhem, Netherlands
Twenty-five minutes had lapsed by the time Kenya coach Luizomar de Moura took off his jacket, perhaps feeling the heat of the moment. Belgium had just won the first set 25-15 and were on course for their second win at the FIVB World Championships.
The Yellow Tigers, having taken a strong bite at their prey for the day never looked back, coach Gert Vande Broek’s charges sealing the straight sets win (25-15, 25-14, 25-11) with bemusing ease to leave Kenya without a point in this competition ahead of their crucial match against bitter rivals Cameroon on Tuesday.
Herbots Britt led Belgium with 16 points (14 kills, 1 block, 1 ace) here at the Gelredome arena on Sunday while Kenya's top scorer was Sharon Chepchumba with 13 points, all from attack. It was a positive coach Luizomar basked in post-match, on a day when his charges struggled in reception.
“It’s really important for the team and the players to learn from the positive things from the match today. It was a tough match from another high level team. We need to learn from our mistakes and win our next match,” said Luizomar.
“Sharon Chepchumba is a great player for this team and today she had a better performance than the previous match. She got double digits and it’s important for her development that she faces high level opponents. She is the best in Africa and has the desire and passion to keep getting better and be among the best in the world,” he reflected on his star player's performance.
His opposite number Gert Vande Broek was elated that his charges preserved their unbeaten record and hailed the collective team effort.
“It was a better performance since it was a collective effort from all six players. I am very satisfied with how we played, especially in defence since Kenya has got physical players who are good in attack,” said Broek.
He revealed that the inclusion of middle blocker Van Avermaet Silke at opposite, was part of his game plan to tame Chepchumba and Kenya’s outsiders Mercy Moim and Veronica Adhiambo.
“One of our strengths as Belgium is that we can comfortably play many systems. Silke is tall and she was part of our plan to block the Kenyan attackers who have got great physical strength,” he opened up.
Belgium opened a 5-0 gap in the first set that grew to 14-7 forcing Luizomar to call for his second time out.
Setter Van de Vyver Jutta made it 18-9 with an ace for Belgium, but Chepchumba and Mercy Moim reduced the gap to seven points with back-to-back sideouts.
Another ace from Lemmens Nathalie handed Belgium the set point and the lanky Silke sealed the set at 25-15 with a silky back slide attack.
Both coaches retained their line-ups for the second set as Belgium maintained their dominance.
Luizomar cut a wild figure on the touchline protesting Janssens Marlies’ carries during her slide attacks, but referee Myoi Sumie had none of it as Belgium opened an eight-point lead at 16-8.
Luizomar introduced Violet Makuto and Veronica Kilabat for Sharon Chepchumba and Emmaculate Nekesa respectively, but it was Veronica Adhiambo who made her impact felt with two points in attack and block.
Yet reception remained Kenya’s main undoing as Van Gestel Celine claimed two aces to take Belgium to 20-12.
Adhiambo’s error from a serve saw Belgium get the set point and Britt’s cross court attack won the set at 25-14.
For the first time in this competition, Moim was rested for Adhiambo at the start of the third set. However she was swiftly recalled, replacing Noel Murambi with the scores reading 9-7 in Belgium’s favour.
Broek’s charges went on a six-point rally to lead 15-7 and later 21-9. Moim’s attack that crashed on the antenna at position four epitomized Kenya’s decline as Belgium easily completed the job at 25-11.
In another Pool ‘A’ match played at the same venue, hosts Netherlands thrashed African champions Cameroon 3-0 (25-11, 25-20, 25-13).
Both Belgium and Netherlands have six points from two matches, three ahead of Italy who play Puerto Rico on Monday.
Puerto Rico, Kenya and Cameroon are without a point. The African teams rest on Monday before renewing rivalry on Tuesday night.
Pool 'A' fixture (all Kenyan time)
Italy v Puerto Rico (7pm, Gelredome arena)