Paul Bitok backs Malkia Strikers to seal Rio slot in Puerto Rico

Former national women’s volleyball team head coach Paul Bitok has backed the girls to make "full use" of a second chance to qualify for the Rio Olympics in August.

Friday March 4 2016

The Kenya women's national volleyball team players celebrate after beating Tunisia during the Women’s African Olympic Qualifiers in Yaoundé, Cameroon on February 13, 2016. PHOTO | CAVB |

The Kenya women's national volleyball team players celebrate after beating Tunisia during the Women’s African Olympic Qualifiers in Yaoundé, Cameroon on February 13, 2016. PHOTO | CAVB |  

By DAVID KWALIMWA
DAVID KWALIMWA
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Former national women’s volleyball team head coach Paul Bitok has backed the girls to make "full use" of a second chance to qualify for the Rio Olympics in August.

The Malkia Strikers are set to compete against Colombia and hosts Puerto Rico in May for a ticket to play at the Olympics for the first time in over a decade.

The Kenya Volleyball Federation had earlier said could not cater for the team's expenses for the trip but the broke federation was bailed out by the International Volleyball Federation earlier this week to ensure the girls travel to Puerto Rico for the event.

"This challenge will undoubtedly be much tougher but I expect the ladies to make full use of this second chance," Bitok, who managed the women's team between 2008-2010, told Daily Nation Sport on phone from his base in Kigali.

"The team has more experience after participating at the FIVB Grand Prix and even winning the competition last year. They will not fear the opposition."
The former Kenya international is now the head coach of both the Rwanda men and women’s national teams.

Kenya missed out on the chance to qualify for the Olympics automatically, following a defeat to Egypt in the semis during the African qualifiers for the Summer Games held in Cameroon last month.

Meanwhile, Bitok has distanced himself from reports that claimed he will be contesting against incumbent Kenya Volleyball Federation chairman Waithaka Kioni during the institution's elections in two years’ time.

"That is just propaganda. I have a contract with the Rwanda Volleyball Federation and we cannot mix technical and administrative jobs," Bitok said.

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