Kenya coach Paul Gitau’s squad has been bolstered by the arrival of five players ahead of the women’s U-20 Africa Nations Championship in Nairobi.
Eight nations namely Kenya, Rwanda, Egypt, Algeria, Mauritius, Cameroon, and Democratic Republic of Congo have confirmed attendance at this week-long sporting showpiece, which serves off at the Kasarani Indoor gymnasium on Sunday.
A serial winner with coaching experience stretching back 28 years when he helped Nairobi Posta ladies team win three continental titles, Gitau, who also won the 2015 African Games title with a reserve title, told Nation Sport Thursdayhe’s aiming to lead the youth team to at least a runners-up position during the continental games.
That position will be enough to ensure this side, considered the next generation of women volleyball in Kenya, to compete at the World Championships next year.
"I know the expectations are high when we have volleyball games at home," said Gitau, who has also coached the KCB women's team.
"We have been working with the ladies for the past 10 days. They have quality and we stand the chance to dominate over the opposition but we need to start well."
“I have delayed naming my squad because some of the players only joined camp yesterday (Wednesday) night. I plan to assess them over the next two days and give them an opportunity to impress me as well.”
The late entrants to camp are Kwanthanze High School’s Sifuna Betty, Lydia Eshwari, Stacia Awour, Emma Nekesa and Miriam Chelimo, who are fresh from winning the East Africa School Games in Musanze, Rwanda over the weekend.
“We have faced challenges with a lack of venue. Our senior women team is also using the Kasarani gymnasium to prepare for the World Championship,” said Kenya Volleyball Federation president Waithaka Kioni.
Traditionally, the north Africans teams, and especially Egypt, will alongside Cameroon offer Kenyan the biggest competition during the games.
Teams are expecting to start jetting in Saturday, whilst a technical meeting aimed at seeding the teams and drawing the fixtures will take place at the Mada hotel also on Saturday.
Entrance to the games which will be hosted at the 5,000 seater Kasarani gymnasium is free.