Volleyball: Malkia Strikers face Belgrade team ahead of World Championships

National women's volleyball team Malkia Strikers in Serbia ahead of World Championships  [photo/Jeff Mogire]

National women's volleyball team Malkia Strikers will face a stern test when they play Red Star Belgrade women's team on Saturday from 6 pm East Africa Time in the first friendly match of their camp in Serbia.   

Malkia is in Belgrade for their last leg of preparations ahead of the global competition set for September 23 to October 15 in Netherlands and Poland.   

Red Star who are the defending Serbia league and Cup champions are expected to give the Luizomar de Moura-coached Malkia a good run before their trip to the Netherlands. 

His assistant Paul Bitok is convinced that the team's preparations have been adequate and the final push will take them closer to their targets for the World Championships in the Netherlands.   

"We take these matches in Belgrade as part of our world championships competition since the conditions are the same. We have had the best preparations and are ready to go. Against Red Star we will be hoping to pick a win as that would set the mood for the players before facing the Netherlands in the opener at the competition-proper," Bitok said.  

"I believe these players are now used to this level of competition seeing as we played ten friendly matches in Brazil. The technical team is hoping that the players put everything they have learned into play for victory as that would be a huge morale booster for the championship."  

Assistant captain Noel Murambi, who is one of the most experienced players in the squad, has also exuded confidence that the team is focused on the task ahead.  

"We expect the Serbian friendlies to be as competitive as what we had in Brazil and that will help us realize the gains we have made and any weak links. As we head to the Netherlands, the competition will be tough but we are equal to the task," she said.  

Murambi believes that they have prepared adequately to counter their opponent's strengths. 

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