READY TO RUMBLE

Bitok confident Malkia will finally deliver on world stage

The biggest casualties were —Kenya Defence Forces' libero Veronicah Makokha and blocker Magdaline Mwende (middle blocker).

In Summary

• The 14-member playing unit was named on Monday ahead of the World Championship to be co-hosted by the Netherlands and Poland from September 23 to October 15.

•KCB produced five players to the final squad thus: Mercy Moim (outside hitter), Belinda Barasa (middle blocker), Emmaculate Nekesa (setter), Edith Wisa (middle blocker), and Sharon Jepchumba (opposite attacker).

Kenya's Sharon Kiprono in action with Brankica Mihajlovic of Serbia.
Kenya's Sharon Kiprono in action with Brankica Mihajlovic of Serbia.
Image: /REUTERS

Malkia Strikers' coach Paul Bitok is optimistic the national women's team will deliver on the world stage after two months of rigorous training in Brazil.

The 14-member playing unit was named on Monday ahead of the World Championship to be co-hosted by the Netherlands and Poland from September 23 to October 15.

“This is a high stakes competition and we expect our girls to go out there and make Kenya proud. The selection exercise was a rigorous one after spending two months in Brazil in readiness for the World Championships,” Bitok hinted.

African Women's Volleyball Club champions KCB produced five players to the final squad thus: Mercy Moim (outside hitter), Belinda Barasa (middle blocker), Emmaculate Nekesa (setter), Edith Wisa (middle blocker), and Sharon Jepchumba (opposite attacker).

 The team, a blend of youth and experience, will also feature five players from Pipeline including Noel Murambi, Veronicah Adhiambo, Gladys Ekaru, Agrippina Kundu and Everline Makuto.

Others are —Lorine Chebet, Yvonne Wavinya, Meldinah Sande (Prisons) and Veronicah Kilabat (KDF). The biggest casualties were —Kenya Defence Forces' libero Veronicah Makokha and blocker Magdaline Mwende (middle blocker).

The team was expected in Belgrade, Serbia on Wednesday, where they will play two friendly matches before heading to The Netherlands on September 20.

Malkia Strikers play hosts The Netherlands on September 23 before taking on Belgium two days later.

An all-African affair will see record continental champions Malkia up against perennial rivals Cameroon on September 27. 

Malkia will then take on European Champions Italy on September 29 in their fourth match before wrapping up preliminary matches against Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Island nation, on October 1. 

Meanwhile, the Kenyan ambassador to Brazil Mr. Lemarron Kaanto flagged off the team in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

He handed the national flag to the team on behalf of the government and wished them the best of luck at the World bonanza.

This was Kaanto's second visit to the team's camp in Brazil, where they spent two months, courtesy of FIVB sponsorship.

The ambassador also promised to follow up on the pending allowances of the players with the Ministry of Sports. 

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