Captain Moim impressed with smooth transition at Malkia Strikers

Malkia Strikers' Captain Mercy Moim trains at the Nyayo National Stadium ahead of the African Games qualifiers set for January 21 to 29 in Cairo, Egypt. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Women's national volleyball team Malkia Strikers has done Kenya proud both in the continent and globally.

Most of the icons who have propelled the team to endless glory are slowly exiting the stage.

Others have linked up with the squad in other fronts like being members of the technical bench.

Some of the Malkia Strikers stars who have exited the outfit in recent past include Jane Wacu, Janet Wanja, Brackcides Agala among others.

Unlike the past when there could have been a huge void after a player has left, the federation is slowly ensuring there is smooth transition of players within the national team.

This flawless beefing up of the squad has been hailed by captain Mercy Moim who is also mentoring younger faces that have linked up with the team ahead of the Africa Zone V Championship in Cairo, Egypt later this month.

The Cairo showpiece, to be held on January 21-30, also doubles as African Games qualifiers.

The delayed African Games are slated for Accra, Ghana on March 8-23, 2024.

The new faces that have joined Malkia Strikers are Sarah Namisi, Pauline Itoo, Mercy Iminza and Linzy Jeruto.

"It is good that we are roping in new players in the team. The new charges will be a great challenge to opponents in Cairo since their style of play is not known to the rivals, and the good thing is that they are all up to the task just like the experienced players," Moim told Standard Sports.

"Mercy (Iminza) can easily fit into the shoes of Sharon (Chepchumba), just like Sarah (Namisi) who can replace me with ease when I'm at the bench."

Moim said they will not let Kenyans down in Egypt as their intention is to successfully defend the Africa Zone V trophy in order to book one of the two tickets available for the African Games.

"We are going to display the same spirit we had during our qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics in Cameroon last year.

"We were united, we had gelled so well, we were so passionate about the game, we had self beliefs in ourselves," she said.

Moim is happy with the fitness levels at their ongoing camp at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi saying the players have picked up so well despite coming from the heavy December festivities.

"Tactically we are also fine, just a few teething problems to manage then we will be good to go," she said.

Moim is in support of Janet Wanja's sentiments that the team has come of age and is capable of pulling just a set at the Paris 2024 Olympics this season.

"If we prepare well, I believe we will do wonders in France, we are really expecting positive results at the Olympics, we have been in training for the Summer Games from the day we qualified in Cameroon," she said.

The long-serving captain said that what has made her to tick over the years as a very prolific skipper is self discipline and faith in God.

"Without discipline chances of a player going far in sport is very minimal," she said.

Malkia Strikers squad

Setters: Emmaculate Nekesa, Esther Mutinda, Joy Luseneka

Libero: Agrippina Kundu, Lincy Jeruto, Elizabeth Wanyama

Opposite attackers: Loice Simiyu, Pauline Itoo, Mercy Iminza

Middle Blockers: Edith Mukuvilani, Lorine Chebet, Triza Atuka, Belinda Barasa

Outside Hitters: Mercy Moim - Captain, Jemimah Siangu, Juliana Namutira, Pamela Adhiambo, Sarah Namisi, Pamela Jepkirui

Technical bench:Japheth Munala (head coach), Josp Barasa (assistant coach), Janet Wanja (trainer), John Ogara (team manager)

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