NAIROBI, Kenya- National men’s volleyball team, Mfalme Strikers, have been challenged to emulate their female counterparts and qualify for the 2018 FIVB World Championships.
Kenya Prisons outside hitter, Jairus Kipkosgei, will once again lead Mfalme to the 2017 CAVB African Nations Cup/ World Championships qualifiers that serve off on Sunday in Cairo, Egypt.
Head coach, Moses Epoloto, dropped Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) setter, Elisha Aliwa, General Service Unit (GSU) libero, Noah Bett and Prisons’ attacker, Timon Kimutai from his final 12 with the team due to depart on Friday.
The surprise inclusion in the team for the tournament that concludes on October 29 are GSU sensations; Abiud Kipkirui and Simon Kipkorir, who will mark their debuts in the continental event.
“We have utmost faith and believe in this team. We have been training hard for this,” the coach told the press at the team’s residential camp at a Nairobi hotel.
The lads will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of their more illustrious female counterparts; Malkia Strikers, who booked their place at next year’s FIVB Women’s World Championships in Japan after winning silver during their continental showdown that concluded last weekend in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Mfalme Technical Director and former Malkia head coach; David Lung’aho, rallied the team to secure one of the three berths available for the global showpiece.
“My advice is to take a game at a time. Let’s get out of the group stages first before planning for qualifiers. That way, we have a bigger chance,”Lung’aho added.
Team Manager, Ismail Chege, told of the selection headache they went through in whittling down the squad from 20 that reported for training at the Safaricom Indoor Arena, Kasarani to the travelling 12.
“The players have grown and I know those who failed to make the cut will have a positive impact for their clubs,” he underscored.
Mfalme Strikers squad
Michael Chemos, Jairus Kipkosgei (Captain) Hudson Chesoli, Rodgers Kipkirui, Kelvin Maiyo, Bonfentry Wekesa, Abiud Kipkirui, Brian Melly, Simon Kipkorir, Cornelius Kirwa, Nicholas Matui and Sam Juma.
The team departs for Egypt on October 20 as they seek to challenge for the top three spots up for grabs ahead of next year’s World Championship to be co-hosted by Bulgaria and Italy.