• Malkia Strikers to humbling arch rivals Cameroon Lionesses on Tuesday to inch closer to qualifying for the Summer Olympics.
• "We do not have the ticket to Tokyo in our bag yet, but closer to qualifying. We have a match to go and if we falter, Cameroon will be back in the equation. Remember they are down but not out."— Paul Bitok, Kenya women’s volleyball head coach.
National women’s volleyball coach Paul Bitok is calling on his charges to remain dutifully firm ahead of their last game against Nigeria as the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers end today in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Kenya’s Malkia Strikers are gunning for a minimum of two sets against Nigeria to secure a ticket to Tokyo.
Malkia Strikers humbled arch rivals Cameroon Lionesses 3-2 on Tuesday to inch closer to qualifying for the Summer Olympics. Kenya are the only side with 100 per cent win rate in the showpiece but their results against Nigeria will be critical to their advancement.
“I would like to urge my team to keep their heads high as we have an important game against Nigeria. We must not relent and we must avoid complacency by all means as our opponent are preparing accordingly,” warned the former Kenya international middle blocker.
“We do not have the ticket to Tokyo in our bag yet but we are closer to qualifying. We have a match to go and if we falter, Cameroon will be back in the equation. Remember they are down but not out,” added Bitok, commending his charges for the stellar display. He praised Cameroon for pushing Kenya to the wire.
The Cameroon versus Kenya clash has gained the tag ‘battle of titans,’ and Bitok made sure he fielded all his players in the campaign.
"I have trained them all and they have to know they are part of the team’s plan in the assignment. When I realised we were losing the fourth set, I had to rest some of players for the rally and it work perfectly. It is about the experience I have gathered in the coaching field over time,” reasoned the tactician.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Whenever these two sides meet, it’s always like a battle, never a normal play. We traveled with the knowledge that we will be under pressure since Cameroon are at home. During the match, we had to restrain from pushing the girls because everyone of us was already under pressure,” he admitted.
Bitok, who doubles up as Kenya Commercial Bank head coach,, said Kenya’s trick was strong serves that paralysed Cameroon in the middle attacking department for Kenya to have good blocks.
“This made our side blocks easier. This victory (against hosts) is very important for me because I wanted to make history for myself. I’ve been here before, met both Cameroon men and women and I achieved my goals. I feel very proud of my players and the whole team for the win,” continued Bitok.
Kenya had a rest day yesterday and the tutor said morale is still high in camp and they are ready to face Nigeria.