U23 Malkia Strikers up for FIVB debut in Slovenia
The national Under-23 women’s volleyball team is primed for showdown at the FIVB World Championships slated for September 10-17 in Ljubljana.
The junior Malkia Strikers will depart Nairobi on Friday for the Slovenian capital ahead of what will mark their maiden appearance at the global competition that is now its third edition.
Kenya has been placed in Pool B alongside Turkey, Bulgaria, Japan, Brazil and Cuba with Kenya Volleyball Federation vice-chairman Martin Makokha backing the squad that has been training since July to shine.
“We only had to break camp in August because of the General Election but we resumed a week later and up to now the preparations have been going on very well,” Makokha said.
The team, under the stewardship of Head Coach Catherine Mabwi, will open their campaign against defending champions Brazil on September 10 before taking on Bulgaria the following day.
The Kenyans will then take on 2015 runners-up Turkey on September 12, before facing Cuba two days later. They will later wind up their group stage matches with a game against Japan.
Makokha exuded confidence in his charges but warned fans not to place too much expectation on their shoulders so as to enable them perform with minimal pressure.
“It’s only their first time at such competition so let’s wait and see what they can achieve,” he added.
With the team expected to leave the country on Friday, Coach Catherine Mabwi has stated that she is satisfied with the duration they have trained.
“Our preparations have been going on very well, we have trained for long and the girls are ready even though we are still remaining with a day to go,” Mabwi said.
Mabwi termed their pool as the ‘group of death’ with both the titleholders and losing finalists in it but vowed they are not scared and will be tackling each game at a time.
“We will take each match the way it comes because we will be playing each game at a time, also I would like to call on Kenyans to believe in the team and expect good results,” Mabwi added.
Kenya will also be representing Africa in the competition together with Egypt which is on group A alongside Argentina, China, Dominican Republic, Slovenia and Thailand.
Kenya U23 Squad to Slovenia
Yvonne Wavinya, Anne Lowem,Veronica Tanui, Faith Imodia, Edinah Mwombe, Doreen Marani, Joan Ngeywo, Yvonne Sinaida, Shyrine Jepkemboi(captain), Beldine Akinyi, Carolyne Sirengo, Celestine Nyongesa.
-Report by Gilbert Kiprotich.
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