After helping the national women volleyball team, Malkia Strikers qualify for this year’s Olympic Games for the first time in 16 years, head coach Paul Bitok is promising a much better year as the team looks ahead to a memorable year 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
Bitok rejoined the national team in July 2019 after a 10-year stint with the Rwandan national team, joining Malkia with barely a month to the Africa Games held in Morocco but conjured up the winning formula as the girls defending their title.
And with just 173 days left to the Summer Games, the towering tactician says the focus now turns to the Tokyo assignment set to run from July 24 to August 8.
“The way we finished in 2019 is the way we are going to begin in 2020, we played in the world championships and won one match for the first time ever, I believe even more can be achieved this year; my target being to be the first coach to win two games in Olympics for Kenya,” Bitok said.
He says with financial struggle bedeviling many sports federation in the country, Malkia Strikers have not been spared but the January promise by President Uhuru Kenyatta, if fulfilled, the team is set for greater heights.
Kenyatta promised full government support to the queens when he hosted them to a brief luncheon in Mombasa after bagging the Olympics ticket.
“Our main problem has been sponsorship but with the sureties from the government we are ready,” he enthused. “We are going to set camp in Kasarani starting April this year for two months before going to Turkey for 20 days and another 20 days in Japan before the games,”he revealed
Just last month, Bitok was crowned as the 2019 Coach of the Year at the Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) that took place at the Mombasa Sports Club.
On the fete, he says: “ I was humbled having been with the team for less than six months after joining from Rwanda and helping the team qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 16 years. I truly believe it was a good year. I will never forget this award,” Bitok Concluded
The team, Malkia Strikers, also bagged the women sports team of the year award at the same event.