Malkia Strikers set for Japan camp ahead of World Cup

By: DAVID KWALIMWA

The national women’s volleyball team will set up a ten-day training camp in Japan to prepare for the FIVB World Cup that will be hosted in the country next month.

Kenya Volleyball Federation vice chairman Martin Makokha told Nation Sport on Friday that the camp will be based at Hitachinaka City, the official grounds of top flight women volleyball team Hitachi Rivale, some 150 km from Tokyo.

“The federation has received an invite from our friends in Japan, led by coach Sadatoshi Sugawara who has previously coached our national team. We have decided to accept the proposal because this will help our ladies acclimatize in readiness for the event,” Makokha said.

Sugawara heads a list of several coaches and volunteers who have helped develop volleyball in Kenya over the past three and a half decades, as part of the Kenya – Japan sports partnership.

Others are Hiroshi Hiyama and Kozue Oba – who played for and coached the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) ladies team to continental glory in 2003.

LANDED OPPORTUNITIES

As a result of this partnership, current men and women national team captains Phillip Maiyo and Brackides Agala respectively, plus senior players Denis Onsom, James Ontere and Michael Chemos have in the past landed opportunities to play for professional clubs in Japan.

Kenya under the tutelage of veteran coach David Lung’aho will be competing at the World Cup for the fourth consecutive time. The Malkia Strikers are yet to win a match at this competition thus far, a scenario Oba believes is about to change.

“The ladies have finally come up well, you only need to see how they performed at the Grand Prix last month to ascertain this. I am backing them to win a couple of games there.

The National Oil Corporation sponsored team have ten matches lined up against the world’s leading teams, including Cuba, USA, hosts Japan and Russia at the World Cup. The competition will be hosted across six different cities in the Asian country, from August 22 to September 6.

Squad in camp:

Janet Wanja (vice captain), Mercy Moim, Noel Murambi, Monica Biama, Everlyne Makuto, Lydia Maiyo, Esther Wangeci, Ruth Jepng’etich, Esther Wangeci, Brackides Agala, Jane Wacu.

Coach: David Lung’aho

FIVB WORLD CUP FIXTURES

Cuba v Kenya – 22nd August

Russia v Kenya – 24th August

Japan v Kenya – 26th August

Kenya v Argentina – 27th August

Kenya v USA – 30th August

Kenya v China – 31st August

Kenya v Algeria – 1st September

Kenya v South Korea – 4th September

Kenya v Serbia – 5th September

Kenya v Peru – 6th September