Malkia Strikers face tough draw in Olympic qualifiers


Kenya's Malkia Strikers celebrate their historic 3-0 wn over Kazakhstan at the FIVB World Championships ...
Kenya's Malkia Strikers celebrate their historic 3-0 wn over Kazakhstan at the FIVB World Championships in Japan. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

In Summary

  • The national women’s volleyball team Malkia strikers, faces an uphill task to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan on their first hurdle against a stacked opposition
  • The Kenyans will have to overcome the European volleyball giants Italy, Netherlands and Belgium in Group F, intercontinental Olympic Qualification Tournaments to be held in Italy in August, 2019

The national women’s volleyball team Malkia strikers, faces an uphill task to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan on their first hurdle against a stacked opposition.

The Kenyans will have to overcome the European volleyball giants Italy, Netherlands and Belgium in Group F, intercontinental Olympic Qualification Tournaments to be held in Italy in August, 2019.

A total 12 teams each will take part in the Olympics in both men and women’s categories. As Japan is guaranteed a berth as the Olympic host, this means that 11 teams will fight for a spot in the Tokyo Games, where the six winners of each group in the Intercontinental Qualification tournaments will qualify.

This leaves a further 5 spots left, which will be determined in five Continental Olympic Qualification tournaments, one in each confederation: Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, NORCECA.

Kenya Volleyball Federation Technical Director David Lungaho however is optimistic Malkia Strikers will qualify.

“Even if we don’t qualify though the intercontinental tournament, the event will provide much needed warm up and preparations for the African qualifiers, where we will face another challenge from Cameroon and Egypt.” Lungaho told citizen digital.

“We are planning to start our preparations for the August event early in April, currently our players are with their clubs preparing for the continental club championship, we will get to training soon after they are back.” He added

The Kenya Volleyball Federation will be engaging a foreign tactician to assist in the preparation of the Malkia Strikers, in order to increase Kenya’s’ chances of making the Games in Tokyo after missing the Rio Games in Brazil in 2016.

For the first time, teams that qualify for the Games will be comprised of only 12 players and not the usual 14.

The Intercontinental Olympic Qualification Tournaments:

Pool A – venue (Poland)

1. Serbia
2. Puerto Rico
3. Thailand
4. Poland

Pool B – venue (China)

1. China
2. Turkey
3. Germany
4. Czech Republic

Pool C – venue (to be announced)

1. United States of America

2. Argentina
3. Bulgaria
4. Kazakhstan

Pool D- venue (Brazil)

1. Brazil
2. Dominican Republic
3. Cameroun
4. Azerbaijan

Pool E – venue (Russia)

1. Russia
2. South Korea
3. Canada
4. Mexico

Pool F – venue (Italy)

1. Italy
2. Netherlands
3. Belgium
4. Kenya

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Story By Philip Muchiri
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