NAIROBI, Kenya- National women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, began training for the forthcoming 2018 FIVB World Women’s Volleyball Championships set for Tokyo, Japan in September.
Head coach, Japheth Munala, has called-up 28 players at the non-residential camp that commenced on Monday at Moi International Sports Complex, Kasarani.
Among those who have earned a place in the team are Seychelles-based setter Jane Wacu and Gaudencia Makokha who plies her trade in Poland.
“We expect the two to link up with the squad by the end of June,” underlined Munala who led the available team members in a warm-up session on Tuesday morning.
Even though the team is dotted with other experienced names that have graced continental and world meetings, it is largely composed of new players to help with the transition.
“If we don’t do the changeover now, we will have a problem in the near future. I have brought in new faces to gain skills from the old players who are gradually exiting the scene,” Munala told SportPesa News.
Players in the squad who have been around and will be expected to impart skills to the new blood are captain Mercy Moim, Violet Makuto, Everlyn Makuto, Trizah Atuka, Janet Wanja among others.
“We will train for one month before the team is whittled down to 18, we expect to be in residential camp in August,” Munala underscored.
The coach was upbeat that the ample time he has in the camp will help his charges to be moulded into shape before they depart for Japan.
“We are just having a touch of the ball and getting used to the indoor gymnasium today.
“The training will become intense as we progress, I want the players to be physically fit and mentally prepared for the world championships,” Munala emphasized.
The coach has called on the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) to organise high profile matches against global powerhouses such as USA, China, Japan, Brazil and North Korea to give his team the workout it needs to shine against the best.
Nine-time African champions, Kenya, landed in Pool D in the world championships draw held last December.
They will take on the might of world-beaters Serbia and Brazil as well as Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Kazakhstan.
Munala has termed the draw as the proverbial group of death and Malkia will be seeking retribution after Puerto Rico beat them in the 2016 Olympics qualifiers as well as Stage Two of the FIVB Grand Prix.
“Apart from our intention to lift the trophy, our other aim in Japan is to improve on our performance in 2010 where Kenya finished 21st,” Munala stated.
MALKIA STRIKERS PROVISIONAL SQUAD
FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship first round draw
Japan, Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Cameroon, Mexico
China, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba
USA, Russia, Korea, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Trinidad and Tobago
Serbia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Kazakhstan, Kenya