Back court defence, an area where the national volleyball team has struggled with in the recent times, is currently being fixed in the small town of Korube in Japan under the able tutelage of Japanese coach Sadatoshi Sugawara.
Through a series of intensive and specialised training sessions spaced with a few friendly games against Japanese league teams, the Malkia Strikers are slowly perfecting that troublesome defensive skill ahead of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship which serves off on September 29 in Japan.
Speaking to Nation Sport from Japan, captain Mercy Moim said that the team is learning a lot from the intensive training camp, although she decried the Japanese diet that mainly consists of lots of fish, unfamiliar vegetables, fermented, highly processed food with low sugar, and minimal portions of rice.
“The training is tough and we are just getting used to the food here but everybody is trying to work hard and stay focused because nothing comes without sacrifice.
“We are training mainly on back court defence and I think this is the best place to do that because the coaches here have a very good training schedule so I’m sure we shall be perfectly prepared ahead of the competition,” she said.
The Malkia Strikers are returning to the global competition after an eight-year hiatus, and they have set qualification to the second round as their minimum target.
To do this, the multiple African champions will have to finish within the top four positions in Pool D that has six teams namely Brazil, Serbia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Kenya and Kazakhstan.
They will launch their campaign for the title with a match against Kazakhstan on Saturday before confronting Serbia a day later. They will then face Puerto Rico, champions Brazil and Dominican Republic in the other preliminary matches.
The competition brings together 24 teams who have been spread across four pools of six teams each.
The top four teams from each pool will advance to the second round.
Cameroon is the other team that will represent Africa in the three-week long competition.
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