NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – Ahead of the Tokyo Olympic games, national women volleyball team Malkia Strikers will head to Brazil for a six-week high performance training camp from May 1, courtesy of support from the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).
The team has been in residential training camp at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani with head coach Paul Bitok working with a group of 19 players which has now grown to 20 after the arrival of Seychelles based setter Jane Wacu.
On Frida, four coaches from Brazil arrived in Kenya for a 10-day visit ahead of the planned camp.
“We are extremely delighted and honored by the support we have received not just from the government of Kenya but also from FIVB. They have invested a substantial amount of money in preparing Malkia Strikers for the Tokyo Games,” Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) boss Waithaka Kioni has stated.
“The four coaches will be in Kenya for a 10-day scoping visit to assess the team then head back to Brazil to prepare for the arrival of this team. All expenses have been met by the FIVB and we remain grateful for that support,” he added.
Head coach Bitok is also delighted with the news that the team will prepare in Brazil for the Tokyo Games.
“I am really delighted and I want to thank FIVB for sponsoring the Kenyan team. This is a good group of players that we have and getting this kind of program will give us an edge and when we head to the Olympics I am sure we will win a match or two. We will work well to ensure we are competitive in Tokyo,” Bitok told Capita Sport.
He adds; “This is something that has never happened before and it is an opportunity for us to train in a country that is rich in volleyball. Brazil has won the Olympics, they have won the World Cup and they have a very good culture that we can learn from. This is a great opportunity for our players to learn from the country and also from the coaches who will be with us.”
Bitok says that the Malkia Strikers will not have a reason not to give their all in Japan, adding that the training camp and friendly matches they will have in the South American country will be a massive boost to them.
Apart from the camp in Brazil, Malkia will also have another 10-day training camp in Kurume City, Japan, ahead of the Olympics where they have lined up two friendly matches with local clubs.
“In Brazil we will play with some clubs and also see if we can get the national team. When we head to Kurume City we will also have two friendly matches with clubs and it will be important because we play the Japanese in our first match. The friendly games will help us learn how to play against our opponents because they play a faster kind of game,” the coach added.
Malkia are pooled with Brazil, Japan, Serbia, South Korea and the Dominican Republic in Pool A for the Tokyo Olympics.
Bitok is expected to trim his squad of 20 players to 16 this coming week ahead of the travel to Brazil.
At the same time, there is a chance that the team might head to Turkey for two friendly matches after finishing in Brazil, but this will all depend on the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.