NAIROBI, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — Kenya women’s volleyball team may not be good enough to win gold, but it will exploit their underdog status to cause a few upsets at the Tokyo Olympics.
National head coach, Paul Bitok said on Friday, the country has prepared a dossier on their opponents and will be extremely prepared, unlike last year at the World Cup, where the ‘African Queens’ lost all their matches, save for a win over Cameroon.
Kenya will launch their campaign against hosts Japan on July 26, according to the fixtures released by the global volleyball governing body FIVB.
But while Bitok has ruled out Kenya staking claim to any medals in the Olympics, he is certain the African giants will leave their imprints on the biggest sporting stage.
“Kenya has played these very opponents before in various championships including last year’s World Cup in Japan. We have also faced them at the Intercontinental Olympic qualifiers in Italy and although we never got the requisite results, we know a thing or two about them and we hope to record a win and bag a few sets against the world’s best sides,” Bitok said on Friday.
The top four teams from both groups will book a place in the quarterfinals. Kenya failed to record a win in their last appearance at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Other Africa representatives Algeria (2008 in Beijing), Egypt (2002 in London) and Cameroon (2016 in Rio) are also yet to win a match on the Olympic stage.
“That is the history we want to change and help Africa get on the same table with the rest of the world. Kenya has the potential and we will claim a few scalps in Tokyo,” said Bitok.
The Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) said, as volleyball returns to the place where it made its Olympic debut in 1964, Africa will rise to the occasion and stake claim to a few match wins.
The men’s volleyball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics will start on July 25, as Rio 2016 silver medalists Italy take on Canada. Defending champions Brazil open their campaign in the second match against African champions Tunisia.