Kenya ready for Cuba test in FIVB World Cup opener
Kenya will on Saturday morning face Cuba in their opening match of the 2015 FIVB World Cup at the Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo.
This will be the second of three matches lined up in the competition on Saturday, and first of the eleven matches the African Queens will play here for the next two weeks.
In other games, Dominican Republic will face Russia in the tournament’s opening match at 6am, before hosts Japan take to the courts to face Argentina in the final match of the day that at 1:10pm (all times Kenyan).
The African Queens who remain winless in this competition despite competing in it on four previous occasions, will be up against a side that has won this tournament on four occasions.
The Cuba team has also won four Gold medals at the World Championship event and triumphed thrice at the Olympics tournament.
The Kenyan girls are looking up to the experience of captain Brackides Agala, Janet Wanja, Jane Wacu and Lydia Maiyo to post a first ever win by an African team at the competition.
Other key players in the team are Mercy Moim, Everlyne Makuto, Noel Murambi, Ruth Jepng’etich, Esther Wangeci, and Monica Biama.
FORM AND EXPERIENCE
“We feel ready and able to pull a couple of upsets this time round, considering our recent form and experience,” said Agala.
The Kenyan team arrived in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon from Hitachi, where they held a week-long training with a number of friendly matches against local sides.
“Coming early was important, we gauged ourselves against good opposition, noted some mistakes which we are correcting, and also acclimatized. It was important for the girls to know that they are now in Japan,” coach David Lung’aho said.
Kenya and Cuba have met before at the 2007 World Cup where the Carribean country comfortably won the match.
Maiyo and Jepng’etich whom have not trained with the team for the last two days, will face late fitness tests ahead of this Group A clash.
Cuba will in the meantime rely on the attacking trio of Heidy Casanova, Jennifer Alvarez and Emily Borrel to deliver victory against Kenya.