Jean Rene Akono talking to the media after the win over Kenya (www.kick442.com images)

In an interview with coach Jean Rene Akono after the Lionesses retained their crown in the 2019 AWVC in Egypt, the 52-year-old expressed deep satisfaction towards everyone involved in the success of the volleyball Lionesses.

The former volleyball player with over a hundred
appearances for the Volleyball Lions, is now coach and started with the 2016 summer Olympics. Since then, the former Amacam player in the year 1990 has won the African Women’s Volleyball championship back-to-back.

After the hard fought victory against Kenya, kick442.com profited to have this chat below

Q: How happy are you for this victory?

It’s a final which is never easy. We are happy for this. We are well and truly happy because we did not start well, we always had faith and kept the confidence in our team. I think that some players did not have their best game at the tournament but it’s equally important players too! But I think that when it was time to deliver in the finals they did, that’s just all about being a big player – so, in the finals we did the rest. We are happy we attained our objectives. It was our principal objective of this season and it needed us to be at our best and we managed to hit top form. I’d like to congratulate the players.

Question

Wasn’t it even more difficult facing Kenya ; 9 times champions of Africa, with the girls, knowing that Kenya beat them at the group stage?

Even when we were at the level of group stage, we had lot’s of ill luck that made us loss against Kenya even if they had enormous mental resources to come back from 2 set’s to win, but we had match points that we were not able to take. We had our chances to beat but Kenya won that time. They’re a good side – we have equally demonstrated our force by regaining the title.

Question

What did you do when the team was trailing?

There’s nothing to say. It is just to have faith, it is sports, they did well in a series that gave them a 4 point margin. We just had to keep on having faith till the end. We knew that we were going to win this match because they won games that were not all that necessary and we won vital games – that made the difference.

Question

Why was one of your players dressed but could not play(Sherilyn Adedayo) ?

Jean Rene Akono talking to the media after the win over Kenya (www.kick442.com images)

She was sidelined because she is not qualified – that’s all there’s nothing more to add, if she was qualified she would have played. The next competition she would play. There’s another who did not come because she is in the U.S. The next competition they would all be part of our team

Question.
What is the particular administrative problem the player has?

I don’t want to enter to the details, she is not qualified that’s all, it is at the level of the international federation. It was in our favor, we could use her but we did not want to take that risk.

The next step for your team

We would organize camps towards the end of the month to prepare for the Olympic qualification but the most important has been done which was retaining our title, the rest is the icing on the cake. Having said that we are not going into competitions to get defeated, not at all we would try to represent the nation well and I thank the public authorities because it is 4 years we are at this level . We have gotten the means. Sports at a high level without the means does not work. I hope this continues so we can represent our beloved country better.

Next for coach Jean Rene Akono as he rightly mentioned, is preparing for the qualifier’s of the Olympic games coming up in 2020. Coach Akono was the man at the helm the last time the team qualified for the Olympics in 2016.

Jean Rene Akono as Cameroon coach.

2016 Qualified Cameroon to the Rio Olympics

2017 Qualified Cameroon to the World Grand Prix

2017 Won the African Women’s Volleyball Championship

2018 Qualified Cameroon to the World Cup

2019 Won the African Women’s Volleyball Championship

His collaboration with the president of the Federation Serge Abouem has given Cameroon Volleyball a new life.

GIOVANNI WANNEH.