Bitok full of praise for Malkia Strikers youngsters

Malkia Strikers centre Gladys Ekaru reacts during a training session at Pride Inn Paradise Beach Hotel in Mombasa on May 14, 2021.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Bitok said the youngsters have improved tremendously, which he believes will now give the technical bench a tough time when the time for naming the final squad of 12 comes.
  • Bitok said Adhiambo has fitted well into the opposite from the left attack where she plays at her club.

Malkia Strikers head coach Paul Bitok has heaped praise on the young players in the national team camp preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Bitok said the youngsters have improved tremendously, which he believes will now give the technical bench a tough time when the time for naming the final squad of 12 comes.

The tactician reserved special praise for the trio of Kenya Pipeline attacker Pamela Adhiambo, Kenya Prisons centre Lorrine Chebet and Kenya Pipeline centre Gladys Ekaru.

Malkia Strikers centre Gladys Ekaru celebrates a point during a training session at Pride Inn Paradise Beach Hotel in Mombasa on May 14, 2021.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

Bitok said Adhiambo has fitted well into the opposite from the left attack where she plays at her club.

“I’m impressed with the progress the entire team has made since we started residential training for the Olympics but the three have shown more hunger to break into the team which is good for the general growth of the team,” Bitok said adding that left attacker Pamela Jepkurui had also impressed in training.

The head coach said he was happy with the support the team has received from the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) and government.

“It is the first time in history the team has been allowed to train for four months which now must translate into the results at the Olympics,” Bitok told Nation Sport at Pride Inn Paradise Beach Hotel in Mombasa.

Bitok is expected to name the final 12 players to represent the country in the 2020 Olympics in July before the team leaves to Kurume City, Japan.

Meanwhile, the government has assured the team of support ahead of their return to the Games after a 16-year hiatus.

Malkia Strikers setter Jane Wacu prepares to serve the ball during a training session at Pride Inn Paradise Beach Hotel in Mombasa on May 14, 2021.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

Rose Wachuka, Chief of Staff in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage said the cancellation of the team's training to Brazil following health concerns was regrettable but necessary for the safety of the team.

"We understand the disappointment but the decision was necessary for the safety and health of the team," Wachuka told the Malkia Strikers at their Mombasa retreat on Friday.

"But the government will certainly make sure you are comfortable and you don't have to worry about basic things, such as allowances," said Wachuka as she officially launched the retreat.

Rose Wachuka (centre), Chief of Staff in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage joins Malkia Strikers players and head coach Paul Bitok (right)  in a training session at Pride Inn Paradise Beach Hotel in Mombasa on May 14, 2021.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

The players and technical bench were also taken through a media training session where they were told of the critical role journalists play in shaping athletes' careers and the basic principles of handling media interviews.

The government has appointed media liaison officers to accompany Team Kenya to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"We are your allies. It's important to be cooperative with the media whenever they make calls to follow your progress," Royal Media Services sports editor Mike Okinyi advised the players.

Malkia Strikers trainer Shota Katagiri prepares to serve the ball during a training session at Pride Inn Paradise Beach Hotel in Mombasa on May 14, 2021.

The national women's volleyball team is in Mombasa for a four-day low altitude training camp before reassembling in Nairobi next week to continue with their bubble training camp at Kasarani.

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