Malkia Strikers eye FIVB World Championship second round in Japan
Malkia Strikers exuded confidence after landing in Japan for FIVB World Championship
The national women’s volleyball team has landed in Japan ahead of the FIVB World Championship which serves off on September 29, with high hopes they will perform better than their last performance in 2010 when they failed to win even a single set.
Head coach Japheth Munala is confident that the team is well prepared to not only do well, but also make history by progressing further than the group stages with their target being to get into the second round.
Malkia are in a tough Pool D which includes 2014 bronze medalists Brazil, European giants Serbia, Kazakhstan, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. While the team admits Serbia and Brazil will be tough nuts to crack, the common feeling is that the remaining three teams are beatable.
“When we played in the Grand Prix, we faced Puerto Rico as well as the Dominican Republic and beat them. Kazakhstan is also a team that we can beat and for us, those are three games that we believe we can do our best and win. This time, we will not only win sets but win matches as well,” Munala told Michezo Afrika.
The top four teams from the group will advance to the second round. Setter Jane Wacu who was part of the 2010 World Cup team is optimistic the target is achievable.
“If we do our best, I believe that nothing is impossible. The three teams, we are on the same level with them and I know if we play to our best, we will get results. Training with the men’s teams have given us a slight edge and I know we will do well,” the setter who has returned from a pro stint in Seychelles said.
The team will have a week-long training camp playing several training matches in the Japanese city of Kobe before moving to their group base in Hamamatsu. Munala believes that the training period in Japan will help them polish up their weak areas, but says they have had good training back at home.
“Our reception and blocking have really improved and we have also worked on the back court defense which was a weak area. Looking at the team, I know we are ready. We have trained for the last two months and the momentum has been building,” the coach added.
Skipper Mercy Moim also bears the same sentiments saying; “The morale in the team has been high and everyone is looking forward to going to Japan and doing well. There is a good mix of youth and experience in the squad and I know we will do well.”
The Malkia Strikers will serve off their campaign against Kazakhstan on the opening day of the championship, September 29. They will face Serbia the day after then Puerto Rico and Brazil before finishing up their pool campaign on October 4 against the Dominican Republic.