Malkia back in camp for Rio, Grand Prix preparations

Malkia Strikers celebrate beating Peru at the 2015 World Grand Prix Group 3 final. PHOTO/FIVB
(FILE)Malkia Strikers celebrate beating Peru at the 2015 World Grand Prix Group 3 final. PHOTO/FIVB

The national women’s volleyball team Malkia Strikers will begin preparations for the forthcoming World Olympic Qualifiers in Puerto Rico and the FIVB World Grand Prix in Poland from Wednesday at Nairobi’s Safaricom Stadium.

The team missed out on an automatic slot for Rio at the Africa Olympic Qualifiers in Cameroon after they were knocked out at the semifinals by Egypt before world governing body; the FIVB agreed to part-finance their participation in Puerto Rico after they finished third in the continental event.

Speaking to Citizen Digital; head coach David Lung’aho said that they will do ‘maximum training’ to swallow the only chance remaining to fulfill an Olympics dream that appeared all over and done with when Kenya Volleyball Federation announced they could not fund the trip to the World Qualifiers.

“We expect to qualify and I believe we have what it takes. We believe in the players we have and looking forward to Rio,” Lungaho asserted.

However, the returning wing spiker; Mercy Moim is not happy with the fact that veteran Kenya Prisons opposite striker; Lydia Maiyo is absent in the team.

“We are prepared, everyone is focused for the championship ahead and our training isn’t bad although we haven’t been together full time.

“I have trained only twice for national team because I have been away. But everyone is focused now, no injuries and those who were out of the team have been brought back apart from Maiyo who is not in the national team for now.

“I felt bad when I checked the list and she wasn’t included. Maiyo has experience I don’t know how it will be but we are capable of taking the chance because we are the best. We only need to be focused, teamwork and above all put God  first ahead of the competition,” Moim added.

In 2015 Malkia Strikers me history when they won Group 3 of the World Grand Prix to earn promotion to Group 2 to be played next month.

The team has been boosted by the return of veterans Brackcides Khadambi and Janet Wanja who missed the Africa qualifiers in Cameroon earlier in the year.

Others include Jane Wacu, Evelyne Makuto and Esther Wangeci who are also in the camp. Kenya will face hosts Puerto Rico, Colombia and Algeria in the fight for the only remaining Olympic slot.

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Story By Carol Kones
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