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Malkia now stalk Cameroon for redemption

Malkia Strikers players celebrate scoring a point against Korea during the 2019 Women’s Volleyball World Cup in Osaka, Japan on September 27, 2019. PHOTO/FIVB

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 27 – Having lost nine straight games at the FIVB Women’s World Cup in Japan, Malkia Strikers will look at the final two games in Osaka for redemption, more specifically Sunday’s finale against African rivals Cameroon.

Malkia have dropped from their performance four years ago when they won two games, a straight sets victory against Algeria and a 3-2 win over Peru.

So far, they are yet to win any match nor a set.

They had however come very close against Korea on Friday morning when they led the third set 20-18, but a lapse in concentration and errors in back court defending saw them drop the set 25-21. They had earlier dropped the first two sets 25-15 and 25-16.

Youngster Sharon Chepchumba secured a game high 10 points for Kenya with Leonida Kasaya picking nine points as the middle blocking duo of Triza Atuka and Edith Wisa each picked seven points.

Malkia Strikers middle blocker Triza Atuka spikes for a point against Korea during the 2019 Women’s Volleyball World Cup in Osaka, Japan on September 27, 2019. PHOTO/FIVB

“In the first two sets, it was difficult for us to play because our wing receivers failed. We tried to correct it in the third set and it worked well for us as we were leading up to 20 points, but again we made the same mistake and allowed Korea to score straight points from 18 to 25,” head coach Paul Bitok observed after the game.

His sentiments were echoed by skipper Mercy Moim who also lamented the team’s poor form in defense.

“In the first and second sets, we played badly and allowed Korea to use their strong weapons. In the third set, we started well but the finish wasn’t so good,” Moim noted.

Malkia Strikers skipper Mercy Moim receives the ball against Korea during the 2019 Women’s Volleyball World Cup in Osaka, Japan on September 27, 2019. PHOTO/FIVB

Malkia face third placed Russia in their penultimate match on Saturday morning before squaring out with Cameroon on Sunday. While the Cameroonians have also lost all their matches in their World Cup debut, they won two sets against Argentina.

“Our aim is to win against Cameroon [in our final match] but I’m not thinking about that now as we have to focus on Russia tomorrow. We want to improve when we face the big teams,” Bitok said.

“We will work on our reception and court defence because that’s a big problem now. Russia don’t play fast like Korea so we’re going to work on our blocks and reception and backcourt defence,” Moim noted.

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