Malkia Strikers coach Paul Bitok believes the national team has what it takes to bounce back from their 3-0 defeat to Netherlands when they take on Belgium in their second FIVB World Championship match at the GelreDome, Arnhem in Netherlands.
In an interview with Standard Sports, the former Kenyan international said he is targeting an improved performance from his charges against Belgium at 2pm.
“We shall meet today (Saturday) to strategise with coach Luizomar de Moura and see how we shall approach the second match,” said Bitok.
“Our results against the Netherlands were not good but we shall continue working on our next matches because we are planning to win two to qualify to the second round.”
Kenya lost 3-0 (25-11, 25-17, 25-11) to Netherlands in their opening match on Friday night and have four to matches in the preliminary round starting with Belgium today, Italy, Cameroon and Puerto Rico.
Middle blocker Edith Wisa was Kenya’s outstanding player with eight points (five kills, three blocks) while opposite Sharon Chepchumba came right after with seven (six kills, one block).
Emmaculate Nekesa made a brilliant senior team debut in a match that featured captain Mercy Moim, Noel Murambi, Lorine Chebet and libero Agripina Kundu.
Netherland’s Anne Buijs was the most productive Dutch player chalking up 15 points as Nika Dalderop added 14 more points for the hosts.
“The team has greatly improved and this is as a result of good preparations in Brazil and Serbia. The battle for the second round qualification is still on,” said Bitok.
“I’m proud of the team as we focus on the next match against Belgium,” said the coach.
Dutch captain Anne Buijs, who led all scorers with 15 points, tallying 12 kills, two blocks and one ace, said:
“I want to thank everybody for coming here for our first match,” Buijs said to the fans after the match.
“We were a little bit nervous at the beginning, but once we found our rhythm, we really got going. It’s a long tournament and we have big goals, so it was good to be out here and feel the atmosphere, it really inspired us.
“We wanted to play good volleyball, represent the people in the stands and entertain them. Today was the first step and we’re really happy about it. We couldn’t have started any better.”
In another group B match, Poland defeated Croatia 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 25-15).