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Bitok to extend spell in Rwanda volleyball

Rwanda men’s national team head coach Paul Bitok shares sentiments with his players during their Africa Zone Five Championship appearance in Nairobi on June 3, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – Paul Bitok is set to extend his spell as Rwanda’s Volleyball Federation Technical Director for an undisclosed period of time with his current tenure set to expire at the end of this month.

The celebrated Kenyan coach has been at the helm of Rwandese volleyball for the last decade, helping them to rise and become one of the best in Africa across all surfaces and speaking to Capital Sport, Bitok says the government has asked him to stay on.

“This week we had to negotiate with the Ministry of Sports. It is still pending after the minister requested to have some few months before leaving. I am yet to decide but will do so at the end of the month,” Bitok said.

He added; “I can’t make a decision now because we still have a meeting on the 15th where we will decide on the way forward. After that we will see.”

Bitok is set to lead Rwanda’s beach volleyball teams to the World Championships in Germany with the games stretching all the way to next month, way after his contract ends.

He is also in Kenya taking charge of the Rwandese men’s team playing in the Africa Zone Five Championship which also acts as a qualifier for the Africa Games set to be held in Morocco in September.

The tactician who has previously coached the national women’s team had been touted for an active return in Kenyan coaching whether at club or national level but with the new development, he might be giving a few more years of service to the Rwandese.

But, as they mull over his contract, Bitok will be keen to help Rwanda qualify for the Africa Games, having led them to the 2011 and 2015 events.

Rwanda men’s national team head coach Paul Bitok shouts instructions to his players during their Africa Zone Five Championship appearance in Nairobi on June 3, 2019. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

His campaign however started on a low, Rwanda losing 3-1 to Egypt in their opening game on Monday evening.

“The first game is always very tough and I think that got to us. Also, when we meet these North African teams like Egypt, there is always some psychological deficiencies because the players feel threatened because it is a North African opponent,” Bitok said.

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He added; “The Egypt I saw was not the one I expected because they are not as tough as they used to be. I think we just crumbled but we should be able to rise in the next game.”

Bitok faces his country of birth Kenya in the next game on Tuesday evening and he will be under pressure to pick maximum points to keep his ambitions of qualification afloat.

But he knows it will not be a walk in the park against the home side which won the first match 3-2 against Uganda on Monday.

“It is always a tense match; I don’t like playing against Kenya. It is emotional playing against my brothers, people from my village… but I am a professional coach and I know how to calm myself, do my work and not to be affected by home team. I will do my best and I wish Kenya all the best,” Bitok stated.

Kenya meanwhile will be looking to win the tie to keep their hopes of a first qualification to the Africa Games in seven attempts.

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