Commonwealth Games: Practice will make perfect for Kenyan team

Gaudencia Makokha in past beach volleyball action in Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

For the Kenya national women beach volleyball team, there is no time to rest as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.

Final touches here and tightening up of lose ends is what they have been working on under the guidance of head coach Salome Wanjala.

The tactician said the team is working on defensive and blocking strategies in preparation for this month's Club Games.

"We are working on some areas we feel we need to improve on. Our defense and blocks have not been the best, but we are working on them perfectly," said Wanjala at the team's training base in Mombasa.

Kenya has been pooled in pool A with reigning champions Canada, New Zealand, and Ghana.

The national women's team will be making her debut in the games scheduled for Smithfield, in Birmingham City, from July 28 to August 8.

The Club Games have attracted 12 teams and Wanjala believes the competition will be tough, but hopes for the best.

"We need to be at our best in serves and how we receive so that we can stop our strong opponents from scoring," added the former international KCB player.

To the tactician, group tactics rather than individual techniques do the trick when it comes to victory.

"For us to compete effectively, we need to achieve consistent defensive compactness, which will leave little room four our opponents to access," said the coach.

Experienced captain Naomi Too and Gaudencia Makokha, who won silver medal at the 2019 Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco, Phosca Kasisi and Brackcides Agala, are in camp as they prepare for the games.

Makokha and Agala teamed up to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2022 World Championships in Rome, Italy.

Meanwhile, Malkia Strikers continued with their training in Brazil yesterday.

"The weather is good for our training and some of Brazilian national players have been of great help to us. We have trained with top Brazilian players, who have been motivating us to remain focused on the training," said the team captain Mercy Moim in an interview from Osasco volleyball club, where the Kenyan girls are based.

"We are enjoying top class facilities in Brazil and we have settled down for business," she added.

Luizomar de Moura, who has been seconded to Malkia Strikers said he was impressed with the training progress.

"The girls are improving and getting better with each day. The environment is conducive for them to remain focused," said the former Brazilian national youth coach.