After missing out on the national women’s volleyball team for next month’s Olympic qualifiers in Cameroon, former Malkia Strikers captain Bracksides Agala has been drafted in the provisional beach volleyball squad for the upcoming Zonal Olympic qualifiers slated for January 9 to 20 next year in Tanzania.
Agala, was named the Most Valuable Player at the recently concluded Kenya Volleyball Federation National League play-offs despite playing as an outside hitter. Her exploits helped the wardresses retain their title.
Agala, whose reception skills stood out during the play-offs, will battle for the four slots with regulars Gaudencia Makokha, Naomi Too from Kenya Pipeline, fast-rising Phoscah Kasisi, Metrine Nabwile of KCB, Loise Tarus and Yvonne Wavinya from Kenya Prisons.
Asked about the inclusion of Too who is nursing a knee injury picked during the play-offs, coach Patrick Owino said: “That’s why we have other players in the team but we will see how it pans out.”
Kenya will line up against Uganda, Rwanda and hosts Tanzania.
Meanwhile, experienced pair of Ibrahim Odour and James Mwaniki headline a seven-man beach volleyball squad which begun training on Thursday at Shanzu Teachers College grounds ahead of Zonal Olympic qualifiers planned for December 18-22 in Entebbe, Uganda.
Others are Oman-based Evans Bera, General Service Unit duo of Brian Melly and Cornelius Kiplagat, Kenya Ports Authority opposite Enock Omogeni and Donald Mchete of Mombasa Prisons.
Oduor, Bera and and Mwaniki are expected to link up with the squad on Friday having failed to make to Thursdays’ training session due to personal reasons.
Owino said their selection was done purely on merit.
“Most of these players if not all, have in one way or the other participated in beach competition. Some have had good performance when it comes to indoor and therefore we looked at all these factors and settled on the seven. We haven’t paired the players because we want to assess them in training and decide who gets paired with who before we pick the final pairs,” said former Kenyan international Owino.
He added: “I really can’t tell what to expect from our competitors because they keep on changing players but we will be challenging for one of the two slots to proceed to the next round.”
Only two pairs will be picked to represent the nation against hosts Uganda, Sudan and Tanzania in the men's category. Odouri and Mwaniki made it to the third round during the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers but failed to travel to Tunisia due to financial constraints.
The teams will be under the guidance of Owino, Sammy Mulinge and Salome Wanjala.