Ekaru, Wavinya dropped as final Malkia Strikers squad named

Regular middle blocker Gladys Ekaru and outside hiiter Yvonne Wavinya were the casualties as the Kenya women’s volleyball team technical bench Monday night named the final squad of 14 players in Rabat, Morocco.

The squad  that has been undergoing FIVB High Performance Training under Brazilian coach Luizomar De Moura for past three weeks is expected to leave Morocco for France on Tuesday 4:45 pm ahead of the FIVB Challenger Cup  that serves off on July 27 at the Espace Mayenne in Laval.

Kenya will play Colombia on July 28 in the knock-outs event that has attracted eight nations.

Ekaru, who plays for national champions Kenya Pipeline, and Wavinya who turns out for  former champions Kenya Prisons were part of the team that participated in the World Championship in the Netherlands last year.

After naming the squad squad, assistant coach Paul Bitok said the team was in high spirits and keen to book the 2024 Paris Olympic ticket and the elusive African title.

“The team is now ready to fly the Kenyan flag in both competitions in France and later in Cameroon. We thank our sponsors the Ministry of Sports, National Olympic Committee of Kenya, Mozart Bet, the International Volleyball Federation and Kenya Volleyball Federation for the timely support. They have made our stay in Morocco worthwhile,” said Bitok.

At the same time, utility player Loise Simiyu and outside hitter Juliana Namutira made the final cut in their first time of asking.

Simiyu, who can play as a setter, outside hitter and opposite, has been drafted in the opposite position and will be in the company of hard hitting Sharon Chepchumba and soft spoken Namutira, who is a natural outside but has been named in the opposite position.

During their stay in the North African country, Kenya recorded two wins against Morocco in the international friendly matches at the Rabat International University.

Kenya had on Friday defeated the hosts 3-0 (25-15,25-12,25-16) before they overwhelmed them on Saturday night 3-0(25-22,25-21,25-15).

The FIVB Challenger Cup has also attracted Mexico, Ukraine, Vietnam, Sweden, France, and Croatia.

Challenger cup is an annual international tournament contested by eight national teams that act as a qualifier for the FIVB Volleyball Women’s National League (VNL).

Malkia Strikers will be keen to bag points at the event that will be crucial for the Road to Paris 2024.

After the France competition, the East Africans are expected to play a friendly match against Mexico before they head to Cameroon on August 5 for the African Nations Championship from August 15-25 in Yaounde.

Final squad

Agrippina Kundu
Emmaculate Nekesa
Rose Magoi
Middle blockers
Triza Atuka(assistant captain), Belinda Barasa, Edith Wisa and Lorine Chebet
Sharon Chepchumba
Loise Simiyu
Juliana Namutira 
Outside hitter
Mercy Moim(captain), Veronica Adhiambo, Jemimah Siang’u, and Leonida Kasaya


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