Malkia Strikers shift focus to 2020 Olympics

By Ben Ahenda: Thursday, October 3rd 2019 at 03:20 GMT +3 | Volleyball and Handball
Kenya National women volleyball team coach Paul Bitok after the 3-0 loss to Argentina in the FIVB World Cup in Japan on September 19. [FIVB]

After their women World Cup outing where they finished 11th in the 12-team, Kenya’s Malkia Strikers have shifted their focus to qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Caretaker coach Paul Bitok said their participation at the World Championships helped the players improve on their speed as well as boosted their confidence ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.

“Although it was a battle for titans in the global championships, our presence and participation was felt and it has built our confidence as we prepare for the Olympic qualifiers,” Bitok told Standard Sports.

Kenya Volleyball Federation Organising Secretary Ishmael Chege said Africa Olympics zonal qualifiers will be held next January.

There will be seven zonal competitions whose winners will compete in round-robin series to pick the African representative for the Tokyo Olympics.

Chege said the team will rest before being reconstituted later in readiness for the Olympic qualifiers. Kenya lost 10 matches at the World Cup in Japan, before defeating Africa champions Cameroon 3-1 (25-15, 26-24, 14-25 and 25-21) in their final match.

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“We learnt our mistakes at the global event as we managed to reduce the losing margins against world powerhouses,” Bitok added.

Bitok, however, said he was willing to work with the federation after his contract with the Rwanda Volleyball Federation expired before being appointed to handle Malkia Strikers in an acting capacity.

“As we move forward, pending discussion with the federation on my future, it is my goal to venture into a more advisory role especially in sports management and consultancy,” he said.

Kenya Volleyball Federation President Waithaka Kioni did not respond to our inquiries on Bitok’s future.

However, Bitok, who had been with the Rwandan side for 10 years, thanked the federation for according him a chance to lead Malkia Strikers at the world championships.


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