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Malkia Strikers coach troubled by trio absence

Lydia Maiyo in action during training.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Lydia Maiyo in action during training.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, January 7 – National women’s volleyball team head coach Japheth Munala is troubled by the unavailability of three dependable Kenya Prisons players who are yet to link up with the team ahead of the continental Rio Olympics qualifiers slated for February 12-19 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Setter Joy Lusenaka, middle blockers Anne Lowem and Edith Wisa are currently engaged by their employer at the Prisons Training College, Ruiru a situation that has left Munala a worried man, saying it has highly affected his training programme.

The tactician noted the trio were instrumental when Kenya bagged the elusive All Africa Games title last year in Congo Brazzaville, outlining that their presence will add more depth to the squad.

“They were supposed to link up with the rest today (Thursday) but they didn’t so we are expecting them tomorrow. They are very instrumental in the team and it could have been good if we all trained together so that we can plan our strategy.

“They are engaged at their Prisons headquarters where some were sitting for their Diploma course exams while others were held up with training,” Munala declared when the team conducted training at Kasarani Indoor Arena.

So far only 18 players out of 26 who were named in the provisional squad have reported to camp with France based setter Jane Wacu, attackers Esther Wangeci and Everlyne Makuto expected to arrive February 1 whilst Finland based attacker Mercy Moim is scheduled to link up with the squad five days later.

“We are hoping to perform well in Cameroon but I can’t guarantee anything for now because we are heading for a tough competition.

The experienced players will help us sail through alongside the young players who are coming up very well,” the tactician who replaced long serving David Lung’aho, added.

The team has been concentrating on bettering their skills in service reception, back court and net defence which was a letdown in the Africa Games where they lost to Cameroon in their second Group B match before avenging in the final to clinch gold.

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Munala will trim his squad to 20 next week before settling for the travelling squad of 16 when the foreign based players join the team.

“I urge the federation to facilitate two Liberos so that in case one gets injured we will not be affected,” the coach who dropped experienced players, setter Jane Wanja and captain Bracksides Agala, urged.

Kenya last participated at the Olympics in 2004 in Athens, Greece, finishing 11th overall, after losing all her matches.

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