VOLLEYBALL OLYMPICS QUALIFIERS PREPS

Bitok expects tough battle for places in team to Olympic qualifiers

Middle blocker Trizah Atuka is also out of the squad as she nurses a knee injury.

In Summary

• Bitok selected a blended provisional team of 20 players who impressed at the national league playoffs at the weekend. The squad pictures a combination of immense experience and youthful talented players.

• Kenya last featured in the most coveted global sports carnival in 2004 in Athens, Greece.

Pipeline's Janet Wanja and Gladys Ekaru go up to block a shot from Mercy Moim of Prisons during their KVF league playoffs at Kasarani on November 22,2019.
Pipeline's Janet Wanja and Gladys Ekaru go up to block a shot from Mercy Moim of Prisons during their KVF league playoffs at Kasarani on November 22,2019.
Image: ERICK BARASA

National women’s volleyball team head coach Paul Bitok expects tough for slots in the team to the Africa Olympic qualifiers in January in Yaounde, Cameroon, if the displays exhibited at the Kenya Volleyball Federation playoffs is anything to go by.

Bitok selected a blended provisional team of 20 players and he does not expect anyone to exhibit slackness in training.

The squad pictures a combination of immense experience and youthful talented players from whom Bitok will pick a final team of 14.

“The provisional team is well balanced in terms of experience and talented young players but the final team will purely be selected on delivery basis. We don’t have much time so the training will hit fever-pitch from the start,” said Bitok.

He added that the girls will report to residential training today. Kenya’s opponents, including hosts Cameroon and Tunisia, have already pitched camp in Europe in preparation for the qualifiers.

Kenya last featured in the most coveted global sports carnival in 2004 in Athens, Greece with setter Janet Wanja the only remaining player from the Greek bonanza.

Among the casualties is veteran middle blocker Brackcides Agala, who was not named in the team despite being named the 2019 Most Valuable Players at the season-ending playoffs on Sunday, where she led Prisons to a successful title defence.

Middle blocker Trizah Atuka is also out of the squad as she nurses a knee injury.

In her position, regular national team player Edith Wisa (Prisons), best server Carolyne Sirengo (DCI), Gladys Ekaru (Pipeline), Lorine Chebet (Prisons), Joan Chelagat (Prisons) will vie for places in the final team.

National league best receiver Mercy Moim will seek a place in the left attacking position alongside Sharon Chepchumba (Pipeline), Leonida Kasaya (KCB), Pamela Masaisai (Prisons) and Noel Murambi (KCB). Best blocker Violet Makuto (KCB), Jemimah Siangu (KCB) and Emmaculate Chemtai (Prisons) are also in the provisional squad.

Regular setters, Kenya Pipeline’s Wanja and Jane Wacu (Seychelles) will battle for slots with the recently voted best booster Joy Lusenaka (Prisons) and youthful Esther Mutinda (Pipeline).

Kenya’s top libero player, Agripina Kundu (Pipeline), KCB’s Lincy Jeruto and veteran Elizabeth Wanyama (Prisons) will contend for the two places available in the team.