Favourites Kenya eye Rwanda scalp in African Games qualifiers

Saturday May 18 2019

Malkia Strikers players in a huddle during a training session at the Kasarani Indoor Arena on May 14, 2019.  PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Malkia Strikers players in a huddle during a training session at the Kasarani Indoor Arena on May 14, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

CELLESTINE OLILO
By CELLESTINE OLILO
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Kenya arrived in Uganda early Saturday morning ready to take on their Zone V opponents in the African Games qualifiers which serve off on Sunday at the Lugogo Indoor Arena in Kampala, Uganda.

Kenya together with Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda have registered to take part in the competition whose winner will get a direct ticket to the African Games set for Rabat, Morocco between August 19 and 31.

Continental heavyweights Egypt pulled out of the competition at the last minute as several of their key players are having academic commitments, leaving Kenya as the heavy favourites to win.

When Nation Sport caught up with coach Japheth Munala in Kampala, he was brimming with confidence, saying that his players were ready to show their might against their neighbours.

“Being heavyweights comes with its additional challenges because all eyes are on you. We have a number of young players among us but if they overcome the pressure, I am sure we shall qualify for the African games. That is our target,” he said.

ACTION STARTS

Malkia Strikers are set to begin their campaign at 4pm Sunday against Rwanda, before taking on lowly raked Ethiopia on Monday.

They will then face Uganda in their last match in the tournament which has been organised in a round-robin format.

Before their departure early Saturday morning, the Kenyan ladies had had two weeks of non-residential training at the Moi International Sports Centre indoor arena under the watchful eye of 52-year-old Italian coach Shaileen Ramdoo - who is working hand in hand with Munala.

The experienced Italian is a certified international volleyball trainer with an FIVB Level 2 and 3-course certificate alongside a UK National Sports Coaching badge.

He was seconded to Kenya Volleyball Federation by the world volleyball governing body to give technical assistance to the country.

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