Tokyo, Japan — Kenya’s Olympic beach volleyball coach Sammy Mulinge is singing the praises of Kenya’s new star player Brackcides ‘Blackie’ Agala.
Mulinge sounded quite enthusiastic about Blackie’s steady rise in beach volleyball, and most importantly, her uncanny ability to quickly adjust from normal volleyball tactics to beach volleyball.
“For Gaudencia, we have had a longer time with her. We started with her when she was in Under 23 and she has been playing throughout and participated in many competitions. But for Blackie she came just the other day and I must appreciate her effort,” Mulinge said after seeing through the team in first training.
He added, “This is because we had Naomi (Too) who had an injury and had to sit out, so Blackie came and I was very impressed how she copped as fast with the conditions of beach volleyball. And look now, she has made it to this Olympics. I’m very happy for her and I believe many can come and make good players in the sport.”
Mulinge revealed that due to tough weather conditions, currently hot and humid, they will be training only once a day before their first match on 27th July.
“We will do one session only every day. Before we came here, we had expected this kind of weather. And I must say that in Mombasa when we were training there, we experienced a similar kind of situation. But the humidity wasn’t that intense as is the case here,” Mulinge explained.
The Coach has asked his players to hydrate accordingly.
Blackie on transition
Blackie on her part described the transition from normal volleyball to beach volley as a dream come true.
“Volleyball is just volleyball. There are just a few things like rules and other small things that you have to really consider. But if you are conversant with the rules of play, then beach volleyball becomes a world of possibilities. The only different is that normal volleyball has six players and beach volley two. Court dimensions are also different. You really have to work together with your partner. When one is blocking you are all on your own at the back covering,” the former Malkia Strikers captain said.
Meanwhile, Agala is appealing to Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) and the Government to invest a lot more in beach volleyball in Kenya.
She says there is lots of potential in Kenya if sponsors come on board to identify with the the sport.
“The only tournament we have played is the qualifier in Morocco and nothing more. We are going to face players who have done more than 10 events. Even last week our opponents were playing in the FIVB World Tour,” Agala said.