Malkia Strikers to face Red Star in Belgrade as preparations for World Champs gather steam

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 17 – National Women volleyball team Malkia Strikers will take on Serbian top tier side Red Star Belgrade in a friendly match as they gather pace in the final round of preparations for the World Championships.

Malkia landed in Belgrade on Thursday and will be in the Eastern Europe city for a week as they firm up to fly to Netherlands for the World Championships which serve off on September 23.

The Serbian outfit are the local defending champions and this will be a massive opportunity for the Kenyan girls to weigh up their preparedness especially on the backdrop of a two-month training program in Brazil.

Malkia Strikers to face Red Star in Belgrade as preparations for World Champs gather steam
Malkia Strikers in Serbia.

Paul Bitok, who has been working under Brazilian coach Luizomar de Moura since the team landed in Brazil says the match will be a good measure of their strength and show them where the girls are tactically and technically.

“We take these matches in Belgrade as part of our world championships competition since the conditions are the same.  We have had the best preparations and are ready to go. Against Red Star we will be hoping to pick a win as that would set the mood for the players before facing Netherlands in the opener at the competition-proper,” Bitok said.

Malkia Strikers to face Red Star in Belgrade as preparations for World Champs gather steam
Malkia Strikers coach Paul Bitok during a training session in Serbia

He continued, “I believe these players are now used to this level of competition seeing as we played ten friendly matches in Brazil. The technical team is hoping that the players put everything they have learned into play for victory as that would be a huge morale booster for the championship.”

Last week, Bitok and the Brazilian technical team named the final team that will travel to the Netherlands with two from the initial squad dropped.

Assistant captain Noel Murambi, who is one of the most experienced players in the squad, says the friendly matches in Serbia will be vital for the team’s readiness.

“We expect the Serbian friendlies to be as competitive as what we had in Brazil and that will help us realise the gains we have made and any weak links. As we head to Netherlands, the competition will be tough but we are equal to the task,” she said.

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