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Malkia Strikers to face Japan in Olympics opener

Thursday February 13 2020

Malkia Strikers players celebrate a point during their  Olympics qualifier against Botswana at Palais polyvalent des sports (Paposy) Arena in Yaoundé on January 6, 2020. PHOTO | SAMUEL GACHARIRA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Malkia Strikers players celebrate a point during their Olympics qualifier against Botswana at Palais polyvalent des sports (Paposy) Arena in Yaoundé on January 6, 2020. PHOTO | SAMUEL GACHARIRA | NATION MEDIA GROUP NATION MEDIA GROUP

AGNES MAKHANDIA
By AGNES MAKHANDIA
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Kenya women volleyball team will start their Tokyo Olympics campaign against hosts Japan on July 26.

Malkia Strikers, who are dawn in tough pool ‘A’, will then face Korea two days later before taking on European champions Serbia on July 30.

The side coached by Paul Bitok will then line up against Dominican Republic on August 1 before completing the preliminaries with a clash against two-time Olympic gold medallists Brazil on August 3.

It will be a tall order for Kenya who failed to sparkle against these same opponents during the FIVB World Cup last year in Japan where they were beaten in straight sets.

Kenya will be returning to the Olympics after a 16-year hiatus. They defeated Botswana, Nigeria, Egypt and Cameroon during the African qualifiers that were held in Yaoundé last month to book the sole slot reserved for Africa.

Bitok in an earlier interview said they will be targeting an improved performance in Tokyo.

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“We have played our opponents before in various championship including the last year’s World Cup in Japan as well as Intercontinental Olympic qualifiers in Italy and although we faltered, we know a thing or two about them and we hope to record a win and bag a few sets,” said Bitok.

Pool 'B' features China, USA, Russia, Italy, Argentina and Turkey.

The top two teams will book a place in the semi-finals.

Kenya failed to record a win in their last appearance at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Kenya faced Brazil, Italy, South Korea, Japan and hosts Greece.

Cameroon represented Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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