‘I will not be swayed by big names’: Bitok warns as he picks Olympic squad
National women’s volleyball team head coach Paul Bitok has named a strong provisional squad for Olympics qualifiers primed for January 2-10 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Bitok’s 20-woman squad includes experienced setters Jane Wacu and Janet Wanja – who command a combined experience of over three decades in the game.
Also in the squad is evergreen left attacker and Captain Mercy Moim, 2019 Africa’s best right attacker Sharon Chepchumba and prodigy Esther Mutinda who cleared her high school studies last year at Kwanthanze Secondary School.
With Kenya Prisons middle blocker Trizah Atuka sidelined with knee injury until next year, teammate Joan Chelagat who has made it to the provisional squad, is poised to fill the void when Bitok announces his final squad for the qualifiers which has attracted seven countries across the continent.
Speaking on the sidelines of the just concluded Kenya Volleyball Federations (KVF) playoffs, the Malkia Strikers gaffer hinted the team will report to camp as early as next week to prepare for the crunch qualifiers where only one slot for African countries will be at stake.
“We were waiting for the playoffs to end so that we can start our preparations and now with that on the back burner, all is set and we are most likely going to report to a serious residential training next week, ” he said.
The towering coach however warned that only players who will impress him during the training will make the cut to the final 12-woman squad and will not go by big names.
” I want to say that I will be very open when naming my final squad later in December, so for those who think they will obviously be included in the final team should better work hard, ” he warned.
In Cameroon, the team is aiming to return to Olympics tourney after a 15-year drought, with their last outing dating back to 2004 where they finished at position 11, similar to the previous and first outing in 2000.
Full Provisional Squad
Setters: Jane Wacu, Janet Wanja Esther Mutinda, Joy Luseneka
Left attackers: Mercy Moim, Leonida Kasaya, Sharon Chepchumba, Noel Murambi
Centre players: Lorine Chebet, Edith Wisa, Carolyn Sirengo, Gladys Ekaru, Pamela Jepkirui, Joan Chelegat
Right attackers: Violet Makuto, Emmaculate Chemtai, Emmaculate Chemtai, Jemimah Siangu
Libero : Agripina Kundu, Lincy Jeruto, Elizabeth Wanyama
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