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Bitok set to remain as Malkia head coach

Malkia Strikers head coach Paul Bitok during the FIVB Women’s World Cup in Japan. PHOTO/FIVB

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – Despite earlier stating that he would like to step down after his tenure as interim Malkia Strikers head coach, Paul Bitok is set to continue in the role, this time with a more solid contract according to Kenya Volleyball Federation boss Waithaka Kioni.

Bitok was asked to take charge of the team on interim basis for the Africa Games and the World Cup in Japan after the departure of Italian tactician Shaileen Ramdoo.

Upon returning from Japan, Bitok stated that he will not be continuing in the role and instead focus on other things he had wanted to do after leaving a similar role in Rwanda. However, Kioni says he will not let the experienced tactician leave just yet.

“We are actively thinking about it and we will not want to lose Bitok especially now that in the next three months we will have the continental Olympic qualifiers. We will discuss with him then find the best way forward,” Kioni told Capital Sport on Thursday.

This comes even as skipper Mercy Moim said in a separate interview that the team would be comfortable with Bitok remaining in charge, saying it would not be good to destabilize the new-found balance just before the Olympic qualifiers.

“We have been together since the Africa Games, to the World Cup and it would not be good if we disrupt the rhythm. I would love to see that the technical bench remains the same and the players retained. If it is to add, maybe two or three new players,” Moim said.

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

The tactician himself says he is willing to remain at the helm of the team, but reckons he can only do that under contract.

“I can still help the team but I have offered myself to be available as a consultant or advisor. But if I have to take up the role, we have to sit down with the Federation and agree on the conditions because now, it will be a job, not helping. We will sit down with them and agree. It is not a big deal,” Bitok said.

He added; “I am happy with the two months I have been with the team and helping them stabilize. I have advised the Federation that going forward they should get a permanent solution for the long term, not just having somebody to help. This is a big team and we should have a permanent solution.”

Meanwhile, Kioni has said he will engage the government to see whether they can chip in with the salary of the national team head coach just as they do with national football team Harambee Stars.

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