The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) is delighted to announce its unwavering support for the Malkia Strikers, Kenya’s national female volleyball team, as they embark on their road to Paris.

As part of this commitment, NOC-K has pledged its support through the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) to assist the team in its quest for success.

NOC-K has steadfastly supported the Malkia Strikers, recognizing their potential and dedication. In November of last year, NOC-K granted the team Ksh. 5.4 million to boost their efforts in qualifying and returning to the Olympic stage with even greater strength and prowess.

This two-year, $45,000 Olympic solidarity grant will continue until the team secures qualification for the games, with additional support expected should they achieve this milestone.

To kick start their journey, the Malkia Strikers will travel to Morocco, specifically Rabat, for a training camp that is fully supported by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB).

This is a momentous step, as Morocco boasts exceptional rankings and top-notch infrastructure. During their stay, the team will receive training under the guidance of six Brazilian coaches, who have been instrumental in their development since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the World Championship.

Two Kenyan coaches will also provide their expertise to complement the team’s coaching staff, with Coach Bitok leading as the female national head coach.

Following their training in Morocco, the Malkia Strikers will proceed to France for the highly anticipated 2023 FIVB Challenger Cup. This prestigious tournament will feature the world’s leading volleyball teams, making it a paramount event for the Malkia Strikers, who currently hold the top rank in Africa. Moreover, this presents a remarkable opportunity for the team to visit the city of Miramas, which has partnered with NOC-K to provide invaluable support in terms of infrastructure, technical guidance, and tactical expertise. This collaboration aims to bolster the team’s preparation as they head towards Paris.

On August 4th, after their stay in Miramas, the team will fly directly to Yaoundé, Cameroon, to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations. This pivotal competition, taking place from August 5th to 14th, will determine the team’s qualification for the World Championship. The points garnered from the Morocco and Cameroon competitions will be decisive in identifying Africa’s top team and securing their spot in Paris 2024.

The final team selection will consist of 16 athletes out of the current pool of 20. The team will be further strengthened by international players, including Sharon Chepchumba, who has been excelling in Greece’s Aris Thessaloniki and was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP). Captaincy duties will continue to be entrusted to Mercy Moim, who has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills.

Acting President Charles Nyaberi expressed heartfelt gratitude to NOC-K for their unwavering support over the years. He acknowledged NOC-K’s provision of tickets last year for the team’s journey to Brazil and extended his thanks to the government and partners, such as Mozzart Bet, for their generous contributions.

In 2022, the FIVB supported the Malkia Strikers with a three-month training program through the Volleyball Empowerment Program. This initiative played a pivotal role in Kenya’s commendable performance in the Netherlands and Poland World Championships, where the team achieved their highest-ever ranking of 19th out of 24 teams.

NOC-K Secretary-General, Francis Mutuku, emphasized the critical importance of supporting team sports on the road to Paris,

 “ We will continuously support team sports and Malkia Strikers are a top priority for NOC-K. We continue to enjoy a great collaboration with the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) and we are happy to announce that expenses such as the training venue, gym facilities, and local allowances have been catered for to ensure the team focuses on training. We know heading Morocco, France, and Cameroon and performing well is pivotal to qualifying for the Olympics. The pathway is clear.”

Mutuku also paid tribute to the late Mr. Kioni, the former second deputy president, who played a pivotal role in guiding NOC-K to understanding the intricacies of volleyball and the necessary steps to be taken.

Recognizing that Kenya cannot afford to wait until next year, Mutuku emphasized that support for the Malkia Strikers begins now. Instead of merely assessing performance later, NOC-K is committed to providing continuous assistance and has already initiated the provision of support, including strength and conditioning training, mental preparedness, and nutrition guidance. NOC-K is dedicated to ensuring that the team is fully prepared for their upcoming challenges.

Mutuku also mentioned that in the following week, a meeting will be held with the national hockey ladies, Blades, the national 7s rugby teams Shujaa and Lionesses, hinting at the possibility of similar announcements being made to extend support for those teams as well. Currently, the team sports benefiting from scholarships are the 3×3 Basketball teams (both men and women) and the Malkia Strikers.

In conclusion, NOC-K extends its best wishes to the Malkia Strikers and assures them of monetary support and assistance in various aspects of their training and preparation, including strength and conditioning, mental fortitude, and nutrition guidance. The organization remains committed to empowering the team and helping them achieve their goals on the journey to Paris.

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