Africa Queens in World Cup bow

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NAIROBI, Kenya, November 3- The national women’s volleyball team begin their 2011 FIVB World Cup campaign on Friday afternoon with their pool stage opener against Germany in Nagano.

The team that arrived at the Japanese city they will be based after a five-hour bus ride after landing in the capital Tokyo, are upbeat about their prospects despite never having beaten a European side at the competition.

“The players are tired after the long trip but we arrived safely. Everyone is excited and looking forward to a good match,” assistant coach, David Lung’aho, told Capital Sport from Nagano.

Brimming with experience and youth, the squad that head coach, Paul Bitok, labelled a development squad are once again featuring in the tournament as Africa champions.

The side fondly known as the African Queens wrapped up their build-up in Cairo on Tuesday where they won all three build-up matches including their last fixture against their hosts Egypt by straight set margins.

Lung’aho added the side held their first training session on Thursday afternoon as they prepare for their first out of five pool matches where they are aiming to win at least two games to add on to their sole victory at the World Cup when they beat Egypt at the 1991 edition.

With Algeria also in their pool, the Kenyans are presented with a chance of bagging only their second ever victory at the competition.

“The team has posted very tremendous improvement this year and we are confident of coming home with better results. We have managed to study some of our opponents and we are confident we will come home with better news,” head coach, Paul Bitok said before they left for Egypt.

Attacker Evelyne Makuto who will lead Kenya’s assault in Japan believes Kenya will stage a better performance this year.

“We are going to win at least two matches now that the bench has brought junior player full of energy to play in the world cup,” she stated.

The top three nations at the World Cup will automatically qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games with the rest heading back to their continents to fight for a slot for London.

Kenya will open their campaign against Germany on November 4 in Nagoya.

– By Gloria Kendi

THE SQUAD

Evelyne Makuto-Prisons
Esther Wangeci – Pipeline
Diana Khisa -Prisons
Ruth Chepng’etich -Pipeline
Janet Wanja -Pipeline
Roselyne Adhiambo -Pipeline
Noel Murambi -KCB
Lydia Maiyo – Prisons
Mercy Moim -Prisons
Bracksides Agala-Prisons
Judy Tarus -Prisons
Florence Bosire-Prisons

Coach – Paul Bitok
Assistant coach – David Lung’aho

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