NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 31 – African volleyball queens Malkia Strikers have been drawn in a tough Pool A for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in July and will face off with reigning European champions and Rio 2016 silver medalists Serbia and two-time Olympic champions Brazil.
Malkia will also face off with hosts Japan, Kore and The Dominican Republic in the tough pool as they make their first appearance at the Olympic Games since 2004 in Athens, Greece.
Head coach Paul Bitok has conceded that it will be a tough call for Malkia but he reiterates they will give their all to ensure they win at least two games and make history for the country.
“This is a very tough group but we have no choice but to face it. We are facing Serbia and Brazil who are in a class of their own and honestly are some of the world’s best teams,” the tactician stated.
“Japan and Dominican Republic play almost the same kind of volleyball; swift and with a lot of movement and I think we can battle with them to try and win. We showed that against Japan at the World Cup and I believe if we prepare well we can compete,”
“We want to make history and win a game or two and it is very achievable for us,” Bitok added.
Malkia earned a place at the Olympics after winning the African qualifiers where they topped the five-team championship to make a return to the world sports extravaganza.
Pool B of the women competition will show three-time Olympic champions China starting defence of their 2016 title, where they will compete against back-to-back VNL gold medallists USA, the most decorated team in Olympic history – Russia, 2018 World Championship runners-up Italy, as well as Argentina and Turkey.
In the quarterfinals, each pool winner will meet the fourth-placed team from the other pool, while a draw will determine the opponents of the second-placed and the third-placed teams which will be from the other pool as well.
Pool A: Japan- Serbia- Brazil- Korea- Dominican Republic- Kenya
Pool B: China- USA- Russia- Italy- Argentina- Turkey