Songstress Meldine Sande aims to hit high note in Africa

Kenya Prisons

Kenya Prisons volleyball team left attacker Meldine Sande (centre) receives the ball as setter Caroline Jerop (left) reacts during their training session at the Nairobi West in Nairobi on January 31, 2022.
 

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • The hard-hitting attacker believes if she was a household name like Jane Wacu or Janet Wanja, the script would be different.
  • Sande, a Malkia Strikers trialist, will make her second appearance at the African Clubs Championship scheduled to start this weekend to June 1 in Kelibia, Tunisia where she believes glory awaits her.

Promising Kenya Prisons women’s volleyball team left attacker Meldine Sande has dropped a cover song for Mpongo Love by Ndaya, but it hasn’t received the viewership she desired.

Sande is part of the Kenya Prisons Band but her cover has only amassed 293 views on YouTube, two years after it was posted.

The hard-hitting attacker believes if she was a household name like Jane Wacu or Janet Wanja, the script would be different.

“I’m patient and learning the ropes. My playing career has just begun and I believe by the time I become a regular player in the national team, the numbers will definitely shoot because at the time, I believe people will attach the song and the songs I intend to release to my name,” Sande says.

Sande, a Malkia Strikers trialist, will make her second appearance at the African Clubs Championship scheduled to start this weekend to June 1 in Kelibia, Tunisia where she believes glory awaits her.

“I was overlooked during the 2019 Clubs’ Championship that was held in Egypt but I’m happy that I finally made it to the last year’s event in Tunisia where we bagged bronze. I remember I was drafted into the team as a fringe player but surprisingly, after a few matches at the preliminary stage, I was given a chance and I performed well and that’s how I became a regular player to date.”

“I’m a better player now. I know what I want. Of course one of my targets at the championship is to get nods from the agents. I want to turn professional someday. I have what it takes,” added the mother of one.

Sande fell in love with music while at Mukumu Secondary School.

“I was not into sports. I remember during our music class in form three, in 2015, I was going for the practical lesson when the then volleyball coach (Willy Bitok) spotted me. He (Bitok) said my height is suitable to play volleyball. At the time, I didn’t know much about the sport, but the school had previously done well in the national and regional school games,” recalls the 25-year-old.

“With zero basic skills, but excellent power and jump, Bitok fielded me in one of the open tournament at Moding High School in Busia County.”

While Mukumu didn’t perform well, the then Prisons women’s coach David Lung’aho spotted Sande and her and encouraged to join Prisons after my ‘O’ level.

“The following year, my interest for the sport had grown, and we managed to reach the regional final but we were overwhelmed by Lugulu. Soweto signed me during the national school games in 2016 in Eldoret and once again I proved a point but we fell short, losing to Kosirai Secondary School in the final,” she explains.

Sande would later get offers from Kenya Pipeline and Prisons but she settled for the latter after consultations.

“I was included in the provisional squad for the World Championship qualifiers that were held in Rwanda last year, but I didn’t make the final cut. I look forward to more chances in the national team because I believe I have what it takes to represent the country,” said Sande, who was named the Most Valuable Player during the Inter Prisons Championship that was held at the Kenya Prisons Staff Training School in Ruiru last month.

Prisons coach and national team’s assistant coach Josp Barasa believes Sande can bring competition in the national team squad.

“She is ripe. The fact that she has the jump and powerful spikes gives her an edge. At club level, she will be one of the most sought after players in the club championship and I hope the healthy competition in the team amongst Pamela Masaisai and Brackcides Agala will work in our favour,” said Barasa.

Prisons are five-time winners of the African tourney and the last Kenyan team to win the title in 2013 in Madagascar.

Of the current squad, captain Agala, libero Elizabeth Wanyama, middle blocker Joan Jelegat and right attacker Loise Jepkosgei were part of the title-winning squad.

The wardresses will be without the services of experienced right attacker and former national team player Lydia Maiyo, setter Joy Lusenaka and middle blocker Shyrene Jepkemboi who are on maternity leave but captain Agala is upbeat ahead of the competition.

“We are not a depleted side as many would want us to believe. We have enough cover and our goal is to do better than last time. We are putting the final touches in our training sessions but all in all we are good to go,” said Agala who alongside Gaudencia Makokha represented the country for the first time in beach volleyball at the Olympic Games last year.
Prisons bagged the bronze medal behind CS Sfaxien (silver) and winners Carthage last year in Kelibia.

Prisons have brought on board setter Sheila Khasandi from Kwanthanze Secondary School who is expected to fill the gap left by Lusenaka.

“There is no pressure, we have always performed well even at our lowest and the script will not change now. The absence of Lusenaka also gives a chance to Herman Kipyegon who has played second fiddle and now the spotlight will be on her,” said the 38-year-old Agala.

Prisons left the country on Thursday.

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