Malkia Strikers finally victorious in Brazil
The national women’s volleyball team Malkia Strikers were victorious in the second build-up match of their Brazilian training camp, defeating Sesi Sororcaba 3-0 in the wee hours of Thursday morning at the Jose Liberatti Stadium in Sao Paulo.
Malkia had lost their first friendly against Osasco Volleyball Club last Friday and provided the perfect response this time around, securing a straight sets victory, 28-26, 25-20, 25-15, over their Superliga B opponents.
The team is in Brazil for a two-month-long training camp preparing for this year’s World Championships set to be played between September 23 and October 15 in the Netherlands and Poland.
Head coach Paul Bitok maintained the same starting line-up that faced off against five-time Brazilian champions Osasco with the experienced duo of Captain Mercy Moim and Noel Murambi partnering with each other as Outside Hitters. Lorraine Chebet and birthday girl Edith Wisa stood tall as Middle Blockers with Sharon Chepchumba as the Opposite. Emmaculate Nekesa and Agripina Kundu lined up as Setter and Libero respectively.
After the first set, Noel Murambi was substituted for her fellow Kenya Pipeline teammate Veronica Adhiambo who played the rest of the game.
After the game, Bitok, who is set to leave his role as head coach and seek an elective administration one in the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF), noted plenty of positives in his side’s play as well as areas that need improvement.
He said, “We were excellent with our collective display as a team and showed good improvement in our blocking and reception of the ball. I am happy because we have been showing improvement with every day that passes. We now need to maintain that as well as adjust our backcourt defence, transition balls as well as our serving.”
The team has two more build-up matches lined up this week against the Brazilian national U21 side on Friday and Saturday. The matches will be played at the national training centre for Brazilian national volleyball teams in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro and it will be the first time that Malkia will depart their training base in Sao Paulo since they arrived slightly over three weeks ago.
The nine-time African champions will depart Sao Paulo, in the Southeast of Brazil, on Thursday and travel eight hours by road to Saquarema, Brazil’s “surfing capital” which is more than 70km East of the capital city Rio de Janeiro.
After the sojourn, Malkia will return back to Sao Paulo where a “revenge match” against Osasco has been scheduled for Friday next week.
Malkia’s stay in Brazil is courtesy of world governing body FIVB’s Empowerment Programme which was launched at the 37th FIVB World Congress in February 2021. The Programme aims at improving the performance of national volleyball teams around the world by empowering them with the human and technical resources needed to unlock their potential. This is done by assigning teams the very best coaches, trainers, physiotherapists and data analysts.
Osasco club head coach Luizomar de Moura alongside his assistant Jefferson Arosti, Strength & Conditioning Trainer Marcelo Vitorino de Souza and Team Manager Roberto Opice Neto were forwarded to Kenya by the FIVB and handled the team for the first time in the build-up to the delayed 2020 Olympics in Japan.
After the conclusion of the two-month-long Brazil camp, Malkia Strikers will travel to Serbia for two more friendly matches against the Eastern Europeans, who are the reigning world champions, and Colombia before heading for the world games. The two friendly matches have been made possible thanks to Mozzart Bet’s KES 10m sponsorship of the team. The betting firm is also the official sponsor of both Serbia and Colombia.
Below is the team that is in Brazil;
Outside Hitters - Noel Murambi, Mercy Moim, Yvonne Wavinya and Veronica Adhiambo, Meldine Sande
Middle Blockers - Belinda Barasa, Gladys Ekaru, Edith Wisa, Magdaline Mwende and Lorine Chebet
Opposite Attackers - Violet Makuto and Sharon Chepchumba
Setters - Veronica Kilabat and Emmaculate Nekesa
Liberos - Veronica Makokha and Aggripina Kundu
Coach - Paul Bitok, Assistant Coach - Japheth Munala