• "It was a unanimous decision to rest Moim and Wisah because even prior to the Italy match, we were always planning for Puerto Rico. We hope they can fire us to the next level," —coach Paul Bitok.
• Malkia beat arch-rivals Cameroon on matchday three to record their first win in the 24-team competition and their second overall in the competition's history.
Malkia Strikers are banking on captain Mercy Moim and Edith Wisa to carry the team against Puerto Rico today in the final preliminary match of the ongoing World Championship in the Netherlands and Poland.
The duo was rested against European champions Italy who beat hard-fighting Malkia in straight sets to take charge of Group 'A' with a 100 percent record.
A win for either team will guarantee them a place in the second round with four teams from each pool qualifying. Netherlands, Italy and Belgium have already booked their place in the last 16.
"It was a unanimous decision to rest Moim and Wisah because even prior to the Italy match, we were always planning for Puerto Rico. We hope they can fire us to the next level," coach Paul Bitok said.
He added: "Players gave a good account of themselves in the Italy loss as Sharon Chepchumba and Veronica Adhiambo led the scoring chart for Team Kenya. If they can repeat their heroics against Puerto Rico then it will be possible for us to write history by moving to the next round."
Chepchumba, who turns up for KCB in the national league managed 17 points from 41 attempts while Pipeline-attached Adhiambo came in second with seven points from 20 attempts. Belinda Barasa completed four points.
Service remains Malkia's weakest link after recording a meagre three points in the entire duel.
"I believe we have what it takes to scalp our opponents. However, we are aware they are a good side and I won't take them lightly," Bitok said.
Malkia beat arch-rivals Cameroon on matchday three to record their first win in the 24-team competition and their second overall in the event's history having trounced Kazakhstan 3-0 in 2018.
Puerto Rico also beat Cameroon for their sole win but managed to win a set against the Netherlands despite losing. Failing to progress will be considered a failure for Malkia after enjoying support from International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).
Malkia were the only African team to benefit from the FIVB program with the team spending two months in Brazil for High-Performance Training under the watchful eyes of four Brazilian coaches.
The team played in 11 friendly matches in the South American country and utilised the modern training facilities at Osasco Volleyball Club. The team also spent a week in Serbia en route to the Netherlands courtesy of betting firm Mozzart Bet. The government is yet to pay allowances.