Bitok magic as Malkia Strikers inflict Cameroon with sweet revenge
- Kenya however regrouped in the third set to win 25- 17 handing Bitok a win in his first assignment as the new Malkia Strikers head coach
Gilbert Kiprotich in Rabat, Morocco
National women volleyball team Malkia Strikers started brightly their quest to defend the African Games title with a blistering 3-1 hammering of eternal foes Cameroon.
Kenya, under the tutelage of Paul Bitok, edged their rivals 25-22 in the first set before winning the second set 25-21.
It is in the third set however that Kenya struggled against the African Champions losing 25-16 to allow the West Africans back in to the game.
Kenya however regrouped in the third set to win 25- 17 handing Bitok a win in his first assignment as the new Malkia Strikers head coach.
Malkia suffered a heart-wrenching final defeat to the Cameroonians losing 3-2 in the Women African Nations Cup held in Cairo, Egypt some seven weeks ago.
Bitok opted for experience in his starting lineup with the likes of Jane Wacu, Evelyn Makuto and Mercy Moim getting slots.
“I think we played well apart from the third set where we struggled a bit on reception. I can say so far so good but we still have a lot of work to do. It is not only about Cameroon, there is also Senegal which is a good team,” observed Bitok.
Skipper Mercy Moim said although it was still at the preliminary stages, winning against Cameroon was crucial as they seek to defend the title.
“We are happy to have won against Cameroon, they have been a difficult side for us in the recent past. We knew exactly that they would opt for – diagonal balls and we were ready for that, we also suppressed their main attackers which worked very well for us,” said Moim.
Bitok also threw into the fray the junior players including the youthful Sharon Chepchumba as the game wore out.
“Integrating junior players in the team is very important as it builds the next generation and if you see right now, in our team, we have very promising players who will take over from us,” Moim said.
Kenya will take on Senegal on Monday with a win taking them to the semis and for Bitok it’s nothing short of a win.
“We cannot underrate Senegal because our aim is to finish as the winners in our pool so that we can be paired with the runners up team at the semis,” said Bitok.
Cameroon have now concluded their group stage matches having beaten Senegal 3-0 in their opening match on Thursday as Algeria, another Pool B team having pulled out of the tournament.
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