Adhiambo itching to make history with Malkia Strikers

Veronica Adhiambo

Kenya's outside hitter Veronica Adhiambo celebrates a point during their FIVB World Championships Pool A match against Cameroon at Gelredome arena in Arnhem, Netherlands on September 27, 2022.

Photo credit: Samuel Gacharira | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • A win of any kind on Saturday will see Kenya qualify for the second round for the first time in seven appearances at the World Championship.

As Sharon Chepchumba hogged the headlines in Kenya’s only win at the ongoing FIVB World Championships on Tuesday, Veronica Adhiambo's full debut at this competition was one to remember.

In the 3-0 win over Cameroon on Tuesday night, the Kenya Pipeline outside hitter returned 12 points (8 kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks) to emerge the second best scorer after Chepchumba who registered a game-high 18 points, all from kills. Skipper Mercy Moim’s 12 kills also saw her tie with Adhiambo.

Veronica Adhiambo

Kenya's outside hitter Veronica Adhiambo celebrates a point during their FIVB World Championships Pool A match against Cameroon at Gelredome arena in Arnhem, Netherlands on September 27, 2022.

Photo credit: Samuel Gacharira | Nation Media Group

Overall, Adhiambo has scored 20 points in three matches after making substitute appearances against Netherlands (6 points) and Belgium (2 points) in the first two games.

Her performance in the Cameroon game earned her another starting berth against Italy on Thursday and she now wants to repay coach Luizomar de Moura’s faith by helping Kenya beat Puerto Rico on Saturday.

“I am always ready to do something for the team whenever I’m called upon. I played in the first six for the first time and we won 3-0. That game made me believe I can do it. We gave our best against Italy who are of course a better team but we must now beat Puerto Rico,” said the soft-spoken Adhiambo.

“We want to make history and progress to the next level. This is volleyball, you never know what will happen there (second round).”

Luizomar de Moura

Kenya's coach Luizomar de Moura (right) reacts on the touchline during their FIVB World Championships Pool A match against Cameroon at Gelredome arena in Arnhem, Netherlands on September 27, 2022.

Photo credit: Samuel Gacharira | Nation Media Group

Her jump serves have served to destabilise Kenya’s opponents in reception complementing her attacking prowess which has contributed to 75 percent of her 20 points.

Chepchumba, who is Adhiambo’s room-mate and best friend in the team, says she saw something special in her and has always encouraged her to work harder to break into the first team.

“I didn’t know her well before but when we went to Brazil (for the high-performance training camp), I realised how good she is. I have been telling her she is good but she needs to have something unique to be picked. Her position has a lot of competition because (Mercy) Moim is good in reception and floor defence, Noel (Murambi) is a good blocker and receiver while (Meldinah) Sande has a powerful attack. "

“She is a natural high jumper which means she attacks the ball from a very high point making her difficult to block. She also has an efficient pipe attack and jump service so I’ve been urging her to build on her strengths."

“I’m happy she grabbed the chance when she made it to the first team. It’s good for the team when we have many players scoring. I don’t like it when I am the only one shining because when the other attackers are playing well, it motivates me to do better,” said Chepchumba.

Sharon Chepchumba

Kenya's opposite attacker Sharon Chepchumba celebrates a point during their FIVB World Championships Pool A match against Cameroon at Gelredome arena in Arnhem, Netherlands on September 27, 2022.

Photo credit: Samuel Gacharira | Nation Media Group

It was put to Chepchumba that if both of them continue hitting double digits, Puerto Rico will find it difficult to beat Kenya. She replied in the affirmative.

“If we continue with this psyche and follow the coach’s instructions I believe we can do it. There is no time to relax, we have to keep on pushing hard to ensure we qualify for the second round. If we qualify it will be a big dream come true for us,” asserted Chepchumba.

After playing Italy on Thursday, Malkia Strikers take a rest on Friday before returning to the Gelredome arena on Saturday for their crunch clash against Puerto Rico.

Kenya is fourth in Pool A with three points. Only the top four teams from each of the four groups qualify for the second round.

Malkia Strikers

Malkia Strikers players celebrate a point during their FIVB World Championships Pool A match against Cameroon at Gelredome arena in Arnhem, Netherlands on September 27, 2022.

Photo credit: Samuel Gacharira | Nation Media Group

A win of any kind on Saturday will see Kenya qualify for the second round for the first time in seven appearances at the World Championship.

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