Bitok lauds US class after loss


NAIROBI, Kenya, November 8- National women’s volleyball team head coach, Paul Bitok has paid tribute to USA after the Americans handed Kenya their fourth defeat at the ongoing FIVB World Cup in Japan.

Speaking after the game where the African champions held their own against their unbeaten opponents before bowing out in straight sets of 25-16, 25-13 and 25-21 at the Toyama Stadium, Bitok expressed his charges display had improved despite the defeat.

“I would like to congratulate USA for maintaining their winning formula today. They showed they are still the No. 1 team and the team to watch in this competition. On my side, I want to thank my players for going with what we had as our objective.

“In this first round, the teams are very tough. My players were honoured to play USA and we enjoyed playing them and didn’t have any pressure. We just wanted to improve on the previous matches we played,” Bitok told FIVB.

Team captain, Brackcides Khadambi, who once again led her side by scoring 12 against the Americans, echoed the coaches’ sentiments.

“Today, it was a good match and an interesting match, and the USA played very well. On my side, my team also played good – we received and attacked and tried to retrieve their spiked balls, so for us it was a good match,” the Kenya Prisons player asserted.

Commenting on the third set where the continental champions came close to upsetting their more illustrious opponents, Khadambi averred the team wanted to express themselves against a superior side.

“Today, we knew the USA were a good team and we just had to fight them to the last, so I just told me team to fight. We know they are one of the best teams in the world, and playing against them is an honour for us,” she added.

Their gallant effort did not escape USA coach Hugh McCutcheon who hailed the Kenyan’s display.

“I’m very happy with the win today. Obviously, in the World Cup every win is important and valuable. I thought Kenya were much improved and certainly hit the ball in the court a lot and dug a lot of balls.

“It was not an easy match but my team stayed focused and that was important. Now, we look to tomorrow and our next match and to keep the tournament going,” McCutcheon remarked.

His captain, Lindsey Berg was more forthright in her tribute saying, “First, I want to congratulate Kenya for coming out in the fourth match and always competing, and showing great energy, which shows a lot for the sport.”

She added, “Also, today was a big day for USA – we got us our fourth win and in this tournament every win is important, and we got to rest some players because this is a very long tournament and some players got to play that we’re going to need down the road.”

Botok’s side take on South Korea who stretched world number one ranked team Brazil to five sets in the other pool match before losing 3-2 on Wednesday.

Thereafter, the teams will move from Toyama to Tokyo to complete their pool engagements where they will meet teams from the other pool that has been based in the capital.

– Quotes sourced from FIVB