Ekaru and Wavinya dropped as Malkia Strikers head to France

Malkia Strikers during a camp in Morocco before they headed to France.[NOCK]

Gladys Ekaru and Yvonne Wavinya were dropped from the national volleyball team Malkia Strikers as the team headed to France for the FIVB Challenger Cup that spikes off on Thursday.

The Challenger Cup is slated for July 27-30 in Laval city where Kenya will battle out with Colombia , France, Mexico, Sweden, Ukraine, Croatia in the competition that will act as a qualifiers for next year's Nations League.

Outside hitter Wavinya of Prisons and the middle blocker Ekaru of Pipeline were left out on Monday evening after the team of coaches named the final squad of 14 players that will take part in the tournament and also the Africa Cup of Nations that will double as 2024 Olympic Games qualifier in Cameroon.

Greece-based Sharon Chepchumba and Veronica Odhiambo are among the players named in the team after a two week training in Morocco.

The team was set to leave Morocco at 2pm yesterday for France.

Since last year's World Championship co-hosted by Netherlands and Poland, coach Paul Bitok has been trying out new players for continuity at the national team.

"I have been blending the national team with experienced and emerging talents," said Bitok in an earlier interview.

Three emerging talents, Loice Simiyu of Pipeline, KCB's Juliana Namutira and Jemimah Siango of DCI are some of the new and emerging talents in the team.

"The team is now ready to fly the Kenyan flag in both competition in France and later in Cameroon for the scheduled competitions," Bitok said after unveiling the team.

"We want to come back to Kenya with the qualification ticket to Paris 2024 Olympics and the African title in Cameroon," added the coach.

He said the Malkia Strikers will play Mexico today ahead of their match against Colombia tomorrow.

"We shall have more friendly matches after the Challenger cup before heading to Cameroon," said Bitok.

"The team is in very high spirits and ready for both competition. Our focus is to win the African title and start preparing for our second successive appearance at the Olympic Games," he said.

Malkia Strikers had a successful camp in Morocco where they won two friendly matches against their host.

To prove the girls are prepared well mentally, physically and skillfully, Malkia swept Moroccan national team 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-16) and 3-0 (25 -22,25 - 21, 25 -15) on Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, one of the most accomplished national teams in international men's volleyball, Poland, experienced a unique moment on Sunday, when they got to celebrate their first Volleyball Nations League (VNL) title in front of over 11,000 home fans in Gdansk.

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