Malkia Strikers hope to secure Olympic slot in Cameroon
National women volleyball team bench has settled on a young team to compete in the Africa women’s volleyball Olympic qualifiers, which will be held in Yaounde, Cameroon from January 5 to 9.
The team is due to jet out tomorrow with head coach Paul Bitok promising to end the country’s 15-year jinx and reclaim the Africa ticket to the Tokyo Olympic Games.
A total of five teams have confirmed participation: hosts and African champions Cameroon, Kenya, Egypt, Botswana and Mauritius.
“Training scaled up over the past few weeks, getting more tactical and intensive by the day. Each player displayed great improvement in their respective roles.
“While improvement is greatly noticed in each player, only a 14-member squad shall be retained,” said Bitok on Tuesday in Nairobi.
The coach has since axed Pamela Masasai, Caroline Serengo, Linsey Jeruto and Esther Mutinda.
The team headed to Cameroon will be captained by veteran Mercy Moim and will also see the debut of her Kenya Prisons counterpart Joy Luseneka in the national team.
It has always been so near yet so far in the national team for the setter who was voted the best during the Kenya Volleyball Federation league play-offs in November at Kasarani when she led her team to retaining the title.
Luseneka got her chance after veteran setter Janet Wanja pulled out of the team citing personal reasons.
Another long serving player Jane Wacu also got a chance in the team and will be hoping to use her experience to help Malkia Strikers qualify for the Olympics.
“For the players who were not selected, I urge them to keep their heads high and to continue working hard as they stand a great chance in future competitions like the Tokyo 2020,” added Bitok.
Kenya failed to win the International Olympic Qualifying tournament in Italy in September and has only the continental route to secure the ticket to Japan.
The last time Kenya was at the Olympics was back in 2004 in Athens, Greece. [Standard Sports and Xinhua]
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