Qualification to the second round of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship is the minimum target that coach Japheth Munala has set for the senior national volleyball team ahead of the competition which serves off on September 29 in Japan.
To achieve this, Malkia Strikers must finish within the top four positions in their Pool D that involves six teams namely Kenya, Brazil, Serbia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Kazakhstan.
Speaking to Nation Sport on Tuesday, Munala said that he is acutely aware of the challenge posed by other teams in the group especially Brazil who have missed the title narrowly in the last three years and instead finished as runners up.
Munala also confirmed that award winning setter Jane Wacu is back in training after spending almost two weeks on the sidelines due to a minor fracture on the small finger of her right hand.
“She (Wacu) is back so we have no more injured players at the moment. We have been working on back-court reception and I think we are now okay on that department.
“We are going to this competition to compete, not just to participate. The players are improving every day and I think we are ready for the tournament,” he said.
This is the first time in eight years that the Malkia Strikers are taking part in the World Championship having qualified alongside African champions Cameroon after finishing second in the CAVB Women's Africa Volleyball Championship in October last year.
They are therefore looking to give a good account of themselves as they tackle some of the elite teams in world volleyball.
Munala's charges are scheduled to leave the country on Tuesday next week for Japan where they will step up preparations in a 10-day training camp facilitated by Japanese coach Sadatoshi Sugawara.
The training camp is meant to help the team acclimatise to the humid Japan weather, and four friendly matches against local club sides have been lined up before the competition starts.
Malkia Strikers will face Kazakhstan in their first match on September 29 before confronting Serbia a day later. They will then face Puerto Rico, champions Brazil and Dominican Republic in other preliminary matches.
The competition brings together 24 teams who have been spread across four pools of six teams each. The 24 teams will face each other in a round robin format in the first round, with the top four teams from each pool advancing to the second round.
Jane Wacu, Janet Wanja, Trizah Atuka , Edith Wisa, Lorine Chebet, Chrsitine Siwa, Mercy Moim, Noel Murambi, Sharon Chepchumba, Leonida Kasaya, Violet Makuto , Emmaculate Chemtai, Elizabeth Wanyama, Aggripina Kundu