Kenya’s women handball team staged a stunning comeback to beat Algeria by straight sets (19-13, 11-5) to begin their campaign at the second edition of the Africa Beach Games in Hammamet, Tunisia, in winning fashion.

Captain Michelle Adhiambo and Brenda Ariviza starred for the Kenyan side, scoring eight and six points respectively, as the Kenyan girls put off a slow start to win the game and move top of the five-team table.

Adhiambo was delighted by the victory and praised the character of the players, to come from 8-0 down at the start of the first set to win the game.

“Within the first four minutes we identified where our mistakes were and we called for a time out and changed our approach and that enabled us to win. It feels very nice because we are one step closer to the medal bracket. This is a round robin tournament and a win pushes you closer,” skipper Adhiambo said after the match.

She added; “It is a huge morale booster to win the first game and now we have something to protect and that is our place on top of the table.”

The Kenyan girls started slow and the Algerians led 8-0 after just three and a half minutes, with Ben Moudetter Selma, who had a game high 11 points, being the chief destroyer for the Algerian side.

However, the Kenyan girls slowly scaled their way back into the game and keeper Abigael Waeni scored the first two points with a quick launch from her goal area before Glady’s Chilo’s spin score put the game at 9-4.

The decision to change skipper Adhiambo into a specialist player was the key turning point as she engineered a comeback that saw Kenya go into the lead for the first time in the game at 11-10 with under four minutes to play. The Kenyan girls didn’t look behind with Ariviza’s two spin shots, counting for two points each and Viona Wandera’s similar score taking the team to a 19-13 lead at the end of the first period.

In the second period, it was smooth sailing for the girls who were now playing a more flawless and coordinated game and despite some moments of brilliance from Algeria’s Selma, they couldn’t play catch up. Euphrasia Mukasia’s 360 shot with 30 seconds to play was the final marker for Kenya as they clinched the set 11-5.

Kenya will face off with neighbors Uganda and Mali on Sunday before a final showdown against hosts Tunisia, who beat them in the Global Tour, on Monday.

The Men’s team play hosts Tunisia on Saturday evening at 6:10pm EAT.

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