Malkia Strikers flagged off for World Championships
The national women’s volleyball team Malkia Strikers was in the early hours of Wednesday flagged off for the 2022 FIVB World Championships by the Kenyan Ambassador to Brazil.
The Kenyan queens have been camping in Brazil for high-intensity training for more than two months and are now set to depart the South American nation for Serbia on Thursday where they are pencilled in to play two friendlies before leaving for the Netherlands for the global showpiece.
This year’s tournament will be hosted for the first time by two nations with the other being Poland and will serve off on September 23.
Kenya has been placed in Pool A alongside co-hosts the Netherlands as well as African rivals Cameroon, European champions and one-time World champions Italy, Belgium and Puerto Rico.
Sao Paulo base
Paul Bitok’s charges left the country for Brazil on June 26 and have been camping at the Jose Liberatti gymnasium in Sao Paulo, home to their hosts Osasco Volleyball Club of the Brazilian Superliga.
During their time in Brazil, the Kenyan team has had the privilege of learning from the Osasco technical team led by head coach Luizomar de Moura and have played more than 10 friendly matches against teams in the top and lower divisions of the Brazilian volleyball leagues structure as well as the country's national U21 side.
All this has been a possibility thanks to world governing body FIVB’s Empowerment Programme.
Speaking to People Daily Sport a fortnight ago, head coach Paul Bitok enthused belief that his charges were on the right track and would make the country proud.
He said, “I can confidently say at this stage that we are 60% ready. We have been working so hard and I know that by the time the tournament starts we will be completely ready. The aim is to get past the group stage first and then we will see from there.”
Kenya since debuting on the world stage in 1994 in Brazil has never gone past the pool stage.
Earlier this week, Bitok named the final squad of 14 players that will represent the country in the Netherlands. Veronica Makokha and Magdalene Mwende were dropped from the initial squad of 16 that has been in Brazil.
Below is the final squad;
- Mercy Moim
- Noel Murambi
- Meldinah Sande
- Veronica Adhiambo
- Edith Wisa
- Gladys Ekaru
- Lorine Chebet
- Belinda Barasa
- Emmaculate Nekesa
- Veronica Kilabat
- Sharon Chepchumba
- Everline Makuto
- Agripina Kundu
- Yvonne Wavinya