Setter Wacu cautious ahead of Nigeria clash


Kenyan International Jane Wacu follows action against Egypt during their Women's Under 23 African Nations volleyball ...
Kenyan International Jane Wacu follows action against Egypt during their Women's Under 23 African Nations volleyball champions at Safaricom Gymnasium stadium Kasarani on October 24, 2016. Egypt won 3-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha

In Summary

  • Long-serving national women volleyball team setter Jane Wacu has urged her teammates not to underrate Nigeria ahead of their last Tokyo Olympics qualifier clash primed for Thursday starting 6pm at the Palais polyvalent des sports (Paposy) Arena in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
  • Malkia Strikers who are eyeing a return to the Summer Games after a 16-year hiatus will clinch the sole ticket reserved for African countries if they pick maximum points against lowly Nigeria but Wacu has warned the nine-time African champions against complacency.

Long-serving national women volleyball team setter Jane Wacu has urged her teammates not to underrate Nigeria ahead of their last Tokyo Olympics qualifier clash primed for Thursday starting 6pm in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Malkia Strikers who are eyeing a return to the Summer Games after a 16-year hiatus, will clinch the sole ticket reserved for African countries if they pick maximum points against lowly Nigeria but Wacu has warned the nine-time African champions against complacency.

Hosts Cameroon sit top of the standings of the qualifiers organised in a round-robin format on 10 points two above Kenya, after four matches but the latter will leapfrog them if they beat Nigeria in their final fixture.

“I urge my fellow players to come out in full strength against Nigeria because a small mistake can cost us the ticket which we are all dreaming to get,” she said. “Cameroon was our biggest challenge but that does not mean Nigeria cannot pull off an upset.”

Kenya last met Nigeria at the 2017 Africa Championship held in Cameroon and Malkia Strikers defeated the West Africans 3-0.

At the same time, the former Tetu High School player praised her head coach Paul Bitok for helping Malkia Strikers reclaim her reputation as Africa’s top dog in the sport in recent months.

Since Bitok took over August last year, he has won four consecutive matches which Kenya has played arch-rivals Cameroon, their arguably ‘serious’ opponents in the continent, with Tuesday’s 3-2 win against the West Africans clearly showing how the tide has changed.

Wacu who plies her trade with Anse Royale (ARSU) in Seychelles, says the former Kenyan international has been the catalyst for Malkia Strikers’ upturn in form for using his unmatched coaching experience to bring back sanity in the squad.

“Bitok came in handy following a string of poor results and you can see how he has managed to bring back among other things a winning spirit in the camp which he instilled to the squad almost instantly after he took over. We are very optimistic with him and we hope he stays longer with us,” added the veteran setter.

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Story By Stanley Mativo
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