Bitok ready for life without dependable Wanja

Malkia Strikers head coach Paul Bitok says he is ready to move on without reliable setter Janet Wanja  who pulled out of the squad on Monday, citing personal commitments. Speaking hours after Wanja opted out of the squad currently in residential training at the Kasarani Indoor Arena ahead of the African Olympic qualifiers, Bitok urged other setters to step up and fill the void during the January 2-6 event to be held in Cameroon. In the absence of the long-serving setter, Bitok will rely on Jane Wacu who plies her trade in Seychelles with Anse Royale, prodigy Esther Mutinda of Kenya Pipeline and Kenya Prisons’ Joy Luseneka. “We must move on and I’m optimistic other players in that position will ensure they fit in Wanja’s big shoes. We will also have new changes in the team because there are other key players who will not be in Cameroon due to injuries and other commitments,” said Bitok. Malkia Strikers will also miss services of injured Triza Atuka, Lorine Chebet and outside hitter Pamela Masaisai who is out nursing shoulder injury. At the same time, Bitok has urged Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports and National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) to facilitate international friendly matches before the extravaganza serves off. Kenya’s opponents Cameroon and Egypt have pitched camp in Poland and Brazil, respectively ahead of the competition and Bitok has warned it could be difficult to match the ‘well prepared’ rivals if no build ups will be organised for his side. “We need to sharpen our skills by playing friend lies because if we train at Kasarani daily and just leave for the competition yet our rivals are camping in Europe to prepare for the same championship then we are not going anywhere,” he warned. Provisional fixtures released Meanwhile, African Volleyball Confederation (CAVB) Tuesday released provisional Olympics Africa qualifiers draws with Kenya scheduled to begin the hunt for the sole ticket reserved for Africa against Botswana on January 4. Kenya will subsequently renew rivalry with nemesis and hosts Cameroon the following day before facing Nigeria and Egypt. However, CAVB will release the official draw once the host settles on their preferred order of matches. The week-long event has attracted seven teams where a sole ticket will be up for grabs.

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