What you need to know:
- Yvan Kody led Cameroon with 22 points while his teammate Yaoussia Kavogo added 17 points. Abiud Chirchir replied for Kenya with 13 points.
In Cairo, Egypt
Kenya Monday began their CAVB African Nations Championship campaign on the wrong footing with a 3-1 (22-25,20-25,26-24,17-25) loss to Cameroon at the Cairo International Stadium.
Yvan Kody led Cameroon with 22 points (15 kills, 1 block, 6 aces) while his teammate Yaoussia Kavogo added 17 points (14 kills, 1 block, 2 aces). Abiud Chirchir replied for Kenya with 13 points (11 kills, 2 blocks).
With 42 positions separating these two teams on the FIVB ranking, Cameroon lived up to their pre-match favourites tag opening a four-point lead early on at 9-5. But Kenya soon drew level when Chirchir landed a fierce cross court spike from position 2.
Two unforced errors from Joshua Kimaru and Brian Kamonde restored Cameroon’s lead and when Kavogo pulled a monster block on Chirchir, Kenya head coach Gideon Tarus called for a timeout, with his side trailing 16-12.
There was a ray of hope when two successive blocks from Chirchir brought Kenya to within a point of Cameroon at 20-19. However, the Indomitable Lions went on a four-point rally after Nathan Wounembaina’s services troubled Kenya’s receivers.
Joseph Boyomo delivered the set point with a kill through the middle and Chirchir’s jump service flew out of court from the next rally to confirm Cameroon’s win at 25-22.
A handful of Kenyans living in Cairo arrived just in time for the second set and it was no surprise when Kenya led 6-4 courtesy of Chirchir’s block on Kody. The 215 cm opposite however restored parity at 7-7 with an ace and it was his jump service that put Cameroon ahead at 12-7.
Chirchir’s blocked Kody to crown an impressive run by Kenya that saw the scoreboard read 18-17 yet Kenya’s individual mistakes returned to haunt them in the latter stages. Brian Kamonde served out of court to hand Cameroon the set point and the die was cast.
The experienced Wounembaina was vocal, rallying his teammates to finish the job in the third set that was evenly contested in the early exchanges. Both sides exchanged leads until 16-16 when Kenya opened a three-point gap.
Simion Kipkorir’s side out made it 21-19 in favour of Kenya but when Kamonde’s set was adjudged to have rolled through his fingers, the set and match point belonged to Cameroon.
However, Kenya made a tactical switch introducing Aggrey Kibungei to serve for Dennis Omollo while Shadrack Misiko’s block was added to the defence replacing Melly.
And the tide swung Kenya’s way with Kiplagat making two crucial kills after Kibungei’s services drew chance balls from the men in green. It was Kibungei who deservedly won Wafalme Stars the set deep into overtime at 26-24 with a brilliant ace to bring Kenya back into the game.
Cameroon had an explosive start in the fourth set as Kenya struggled to find a rhythm in the fourth set. Tarus called for a timeout with Kenya trailing 8-3 and the gap soon widened when Kavogo’s devastating pipe landed on the red side to silence the handful of Kenyan supporters.
Enock Mogeni’s kill reduced the deficit to just four points at 14-10 but the classy Cameroonians peeled away at 21-16 as Kenya made a double substitution. Kelvin Maiyo and Chirchir replaced Mogeni and Melly yet it was Kavogo who got the match point for Cameroon with an ace.
And it was the star of the show, Kody who finished the job for the Indomitable Lions at 25-17.
Wafalme Stars will look to recover on Tuesday when they play Libya, who beat Ghana 3-1 in their opener, at 6pm EAT.
Cameroon and Libya are joint top of Group C with three points apiece while Kenya and Ghana remain without a point.