• Malkia Strikers other group A opponents are South Korea ,Serbia ,Dominican Republic and Brazil.
• Kenya looks to better their 11th placing at both the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Contrary to earlier plans for friendly matches, the national women's volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, will head straight to their first encounter of Group A against hosts Japan.
Head coach Paul Bitok revealed challenges in arranging a warm-up match in their pre-Olympics camp in Kurume City due to stringent Covid-19 regulations, which prohibit foreigners from mixing with locals.
"We are yet to find a team to play with and still negotiating with the mayor but the chances are diminishing or slim due to the heightened restrictions from the Japan's government as they try to protect athletes from the pandemic," the former Rwandese national team coach said.
The ladies have been training for more than three months in a bubble training camp at Moi Stadium, Kasarani and had hoped for a friendly match to gauge themselves before their opener against Japan on July 25.
However, a bullish Bitok believes they are fully equipped to match the hosts save for the reception and blocks that they are working on.
"Everyone comes in the competition to win and we are building attitude towards all teams in the group not only Japan. All teams are ranked higher than us and we must do our best to match them. Japan are strong in back court defence and play a fast-paced game but they are not good at blocks. Beating Japan could give us a chance to sail to the second round,"he said.
Bitok said the hot Tokyo weather will not affect his charges and tips them to adjust fully in less than a week.
"It's pretty hot here (Kurume) but in the next five days, we should have totally aligned to the condition. Our reception and blocks still need to be addressed," he said.
Malkia Strikers' other Group 'A' opponents are South Korea ,Serbia, Dominican Republic and Brazil. Malkia Strikers return to the quadrennial global show after a 16-year hiatus.
They will be looking to better their 11th placing at both the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Jane Wacu's experience will be invaluable . The setter, 36, is widely travelled and should inspire the young players as Mercy Moim captains the team.