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Winless Malkia Strikers now head to Osaka

Malkia Strikers players before their match against China at the Volleyball World Cup in Japan. PHOTO/FIVB

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – National women’s volleyball team Malkia Strikers will head to Osaka for the final round of matches at the FIVB Women’s World Cup after losing their eighth straight match by straight sets against defending champions China in Sapporo on Tuesday.

Despite China fielding a very young side as their head coach looked to expose more players to the world stage, Kenya still could not afford to match the energy, losing in sets of 25-12, 25-12 and 25-14.

Malkia had shown some promise with their performance against Japan on Monday afternoon, but could not match the same energy with a consistent performance against the Chinese.

“We have been watching China to see why they are so successful. We knew we were playing the defending champions. There is a big difference in level between us and China. We were not expecting to win today. We worked hard and wanted to get past 10 points in each set,” head coach Paul Bitok said after the match.

Malkia Strikers head coach Paul Bitok demonstrates a point during the match against China at the Volleyball World Cup in Japan. PHOTO/FIVB

Skipper Mercy Moim was dejected with the result, but nonetheless opined the team will fight to get something in the remaining three games of the competition.

“We played our best but they were stronger than us. I think China will get stronger and playing them will help us get stronger,” Moim noted.

Malkia remain pegged bottom of the 12-team table with no point from eight games. Cameroon are placed a spot above, but have four points after they won two sets against Argentina in their 3-2 defeat. The Central Africans were two sets up but lost control of the tie allowing the Argentines back.

Action between Malkia Strikers and Kenya at the Volleyball World Cup in Japan. PHOTO/FIVB

Kenya will face seventh placed Korea on Friday with the Asians having won four games and lost a similar number. They play third placed Russia on Saturday before facing Cameroon in the final game on Sunday, a match that Bitok and his charges will look to win.

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