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Malkia ready for elimination round against Nigeria

Mor African title continues

National women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers are set to face Nigeria on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the ongoing CAVB African Nations Championship in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The Luizomar de Moura-coached side finished top of Pool B after five wins against Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Morocco and Lesotho, dropping only one set against Morocco.

The championship with 12 teams pooled into two groups of six with the top four in each pool proceeding to the quarter-finals.

With Nigeria finishing fourth in pool A, they present Kenya’s first challenge in the elimination round; a match Luizomar’s charges go into as favourites.

“I am grateful for the team’s commitment despite the challenges we are facing. I am satisfied with the performance so far. They have remained focused and gone on to finish top of the pool.

“As we face Nigeria in the quarters, we have been collecting their data and have studied their game. We have a strategy that we will share with the team before the match and I think they will respond well like they have in previous matches,” Luizomar said.

The Brazilian coach is happy to have a fully-fit squad with the return of Sharon Chepchumba who was sidelined at the initial stages of the championship with an ankle injury.

“Having all players available for selection is very important for us as it gives us the depth we need as the competition progresses. We are now able to make changes when needed, so her return was timely,” said Luizomar.

The Brazilian coach is looking to guide Kenya to the African title they last won in 2015 when the competition was hosted in Nairobi. Malkia Strikers have lost the last three finals to arch-rivals Cameroon.

A win for Malkia Strikers in the quarters will pit them against the winner between hosts Cameroon andMorocco in the semis.

In addition to the African title Kenya is also chasing a record-extending fourth appearance at the Olympics, for an African team, and the second back-to-back slot to the global stage since qualifying for the Summer Games in 2000 and 2004.

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