NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20 – Malkia Strikers’ Brazilian coach Luizomar de Moura says he is satisfied with the level and improvement of the team after a two-month long training camp in Brazil, coupled with a further five-day training camp in Serbia ahead of the World Championships.
De Moura has been with the Malkia Strikers since they set foot in the South American volleyball powerhouse, courtesy of a sponsorship from world governing body FIVB as well as betting firm Mozzart Bet, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) and the Kenya Volleyball federation.
“The months we have had to prepare is, obviously not enough time to get the team competing with the best in this championship for the medals so we have to think about the future as well,” the Btazilian coach said.
“This commitment from the players, bench and volleyball community in Kenya to see the team get better is important. I am expecting to see the team fighting in Netherlands to achieve set goals and show a new Kenyan volleyball spirit,” he added.
The team moved to Serbia last week Thursday where they played two friendly matches, losing to National league champions red Star Belgrade before winning by straight sets against the Serbian national team development side.
The tactician said he picked lessons from both games to help the team do well in the Netherlands and achieve their set targets of reaching the second round for the first time in their history.
“There are some specific points that we need to address concerning the two matches we played in Serbia. However, the biggest difference between the Red Star match and Sunday’s game is that we made fewer mistakes and that translated into a way better performance. This gives us confidence going into competition,” the coach offered.
He added; “From the two matches played, I am impressed with the performance but we still have a long journey ahead of us. It will be a tough challenge playing in the World Championships. We have to, however, acknowledge that the team has improved massively despite there being areas that still need working on.”
Malkia leave Serbia for Netherlands on Tuesday evening and their focus is now firmly trained on the bigger picture. They start their campaign against the home side on Friday.
They will also lock horns with African rivals Cameroon, Puerto Rico, Belgium and Italy. To get to the second round, Malkia will need to win at least two matches from the five they will play.
With a majorly young team named for the final sojourn, Moura is optimistic that it will not only be a time to show Kenya’s growth, but the turning of the first page of new history for the women’s game in the country.
“We can see from the friendly matches in Serbia that the team is showing a different volleyball from what Kenyans are used to. We have a young team with some players who will be getting their first cap at the World Championship. We need to build on their experience at this level as we strive to build a new legacy for Kenyan volleyball,” he concluded.