Malkia Strikers join camp ahead of African Nations champs
The national women’s volleyball team Malkia Strikers have joined their male counterparts Wafalme in a residential camp for preparations ahead of the African Nations Volleyball Championships set to begin next week in Kigali, Rwanda.
The 18-member squad converged at the Nyayo National Gymnasium on Wednesday a day after Wafalme joined the camp following the completion of the Kenya Volleyball Federation National League play offs which were held over the weekend in Mombasa.
The women’s championship runs from September 10-20 at the Kigali Arena while the men’s version will begin three days earlier running until September 16 at the same venue.
The DCI duo of Veronica Adhiambo and Josephine Wafula have earned their first call ups in the national team after their top performance during the playoffs.
Kenya Pipeline centre player Yvonne Sinaida has also earned her maiden call-up to the Malkia Strikers squad which is mostly dominated by the players who participated in the last month’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
Kenya Prisons middle blocker Anne Lowem has returned to the team after recovering from a nasty knee injury she picked during the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championships in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Speaking to Citizen Digital, head coach Paul Bitok vowed to have a rigorous selection process of the final 14-member squad which departs for Rwanda on September 8.
“After the Olympics I stated that I will slowly transform the squad by having the young generation coming in and I have now added four young players who will fight for the starting slots in the team. The four impressed me during the playoffs and I want them to work hard during the training so they may need to pull on a national team shirt in Rwanda.
“I will not be swayed by names and keeping the squad I had in Japan does not mean they will automatically get a chance in this championship. The final travelling party will be selected on merit despite the short period in training. I urge all the 18 players to work hard because I will name my final team just a day before we travel,” he said.
Malkia Strikers, nine-time winners of the championship, will be eyeing to reclaim their title from bitter rivals Cameroon who have stood between their record tenth title in the last two editions.
Full Squad: Jane Wacu, Joy Lusenaka, Esther Mutinda, Edith Mukuvilani, Lorine Chebet, Gladys Ekaru, Yvonne Sinaida, Ann Lowem, Mercy Moim, Leonida Kasaya, Noel Murambi, Meldin Sande, Veronica Adhiambo, Agrippina Kundu, Elizabeth Wanyama, Josephine Wafula, Sharon Chepchumba, Emmaculate Chemutai