Bitok lays down plans for Olympics

By Dennis Okeyo: Saturday, January 11th 2020 at 06:30 GMT +3 | Volleyball and Handball
Head Coach Paul Bitok and Noel Murambi during their training at Kasarani ahead of Tokyo 2020 olympic qualifiers to be held in Cameroon. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

After a dominant performance at the just-concluded Olympics qualifiers volleyball championships in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Malkia Strikers coach Paul Bitok has laid down his plans ahead of the Tokyo Olympics Games.

Kenyan who jetted back into the country yesterday won all their games during the Africa qualifiers held in Cameroon by beating Egypt 3-1, Botswana 3-0, topping the five set-thriller against host Cameroon 3-2 before crowning it with an easy 3-0 against Nigeria to mark their return to the Olympics games after 16-years absent, but Bitok is not taking anything to chance.

The tactician now wants three months' preparation ahead of the games that start on July 24 – August 9.

"My intention is to have three months preparation and add few young players in the team. We should have a training camp in Brazil and Turkey and then in Japan a few days before the games start,” Bitok said.

"We have a hard task ahead, with the same energy, character, and consistency, we are heading to a global stage -the Olympics. This is no easy task, we head straight to preparation for this huge undertaking. As a coach, I am after optimal results, we must do better at the world stage.

“After a 16-year wait, Tokyo here we come. It is explainable the feeling of victory, more so at a continent level and with a sole ticket to represent the continent. The queens indeed have rightfully earned the title of being an African powerhouse. For God and country and fans alike, we are very grateful for the enormous support through,” Bitok said.

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Abdul Muge, the last coach to take the Malkia Strikers to Athens Olympics in 2004 echoed Bitok's sentiments on the need for longer international exposure for players.

“The team has been excellent on the continental front. They have proved again and again that they are the queens of Africa. Now the next task is for the team to have international exposure,” Muge said.

Muge who was part of the national team setup which was largely successful added: “They need a longer period of playing with more established clubs in Brazil, Italy or Turkey to better their experience. That way they will better sets, services, and blocks.”

Dorcas Ndasaba, who is regarded as the iron lady of the volleyball during her playing days expressed her happiness on seeing Malkia Striker going back to the Olympics. Ndasaba represented Kenya at the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics.

“It’s great to see Kenya, going for international championships, the level of volleyball had gone down. Now that it’s back at the top we should even aim higher.

"In Athens Olympics, we managed to win sets, the current team should get even better results,” said Ndasaba who also represented Kenya at the 1998 and 2002 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships.

 

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