Malkia Strikers trail eyes on World Championships

Malkia Strikers in action against Cameroon during the African Nations Championship in Kigali, Rwanda. [Courtesy-CAVB]

Kenya women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, have set their targets on qualifying for the 2022 World Championships even as they prepare for their semifinal match against hosts Rwanda in the African Nations Championships.

The two finalists in the continental showpiece will earn an automatic ticket to the world games set to for Poland and Netherlands in August, next year.

Speaking after their 3-0 victory over Tunisia on Wednesday, Kenya’s head coach Paul Bitok said his main goal is to get to the final.

“My target remains to reach to the final because we will automatically clinch a slot to next year’s World Championships. Since we will be in the final, we will think about the title,” he said.

But for the Kenyans to achieve their dream, the team has to dig deep against an improved Rwanda side.

“It will be a tough semis match against Rwanda who have good players. It won’t be easy, but we have to do our best and get the ticket. Kenya has a new line-up and we are still working on getting a winning formula,” said Bitok.

Bitok selected three new players including Kenya Pipeline duo of Esther Mutinda and Sinaida Yvonne, as well as Veronica Adhiambo of Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), after missing the services of his key players; setter Jane Wacu, left attacker Noel Murambi, mid dle blocker Triza Atuka and utility player Violet Makuto.

Mutinda rose to the occasion with strong set plays that inspired Kenya against DRC and Tunisia. The contributions of hard-hitting Sharon Chepchumba and bench boost from captain Mercy Moim also came in handy in both matches.

After a slow start to the volleyball games where Kenya lost to reigning champions Cameroon, the Malkia Strikers got back on track by flooring Democratic Republic of Congo 3-0 on Monday.

They later followed the victory with another drubbing of Tunisia. Two top teams from the two groups will qualify automatically to the semifinals. Defending champions Cameroon, who lead Group B will play morocco in the  semifinal.

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