Malkia Strikers land pool of death in FIVB Championship draws
Nine-time African champions, Kenyan volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, have been drawn in a tough looking pool ‘D’ for the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championship to be hosted in Japan, serving from September 29 to October 20.
The draw which split the 24 participating teams into four first round pools of six teams each was done on Friday night at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, saw the East African queens pitted against Serbia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Kazakhstan in Pool ‘D’.
The Japheth Munala coached side will be representing Africa alongside reigning African volleyball champions Cameroon after the two powerhouses finished as finalists in the African Nations Championship which also served as qualifiers for the Japan showpiece.
Africa was awarded two slots only. Cameroon thrashed Kenya by three straight sets to win the African tourney in Yaounde, Cameroon in October this year.
Meanwhile, Cameroon has been drawn in pool A alongside hosts Japan, Netherlands, Argentina, Germany and Mexico. Hosts Japan will be chasing after a fourth world title and their first since Mexico 1974.
At the same time, reigning Olympic champions, China, will battle it out against Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Canada and Cuba in Pool ‘B’. China has not won the World Championship since 1986. They last appeared on the medal podium when they won silver in Italy, in 2014.
In Pool ‘C’, reigning World champions USA will face seven-time winners Russia, Korea, Thailand, Azerbaijan, and Trinidad and Tobago. USA won the Italy 2014 World Championship with victory in the final over China.
Russia has won the tourney seven-times (five as Soviet Union). The other World Championship winners are Japan and Cuba, with three titles each; China, with two titles; and Italy, and United States, with one title each.
The Japan 2018 edition of the FIVB’s flagship event for women’s national teams will take place in the cities of Yokohama, Hamamatsu, Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka and Sapporo.
First round draw result:
Japan, Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Cameroon, Mexico
China, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba
USA, Russia, Korea, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Trinidad and Tobago
Serbia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Kazakhstan,Kenya
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