NAIROBI, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Kenya, the Africa Games volleyball defending champion, wants to use the continental cup qualifiers as a build up to Intercontinental Olympic qualifying tournament set for August in Italy.
The east African woman volleyball team has ceded ground in volleyball ranking to its North African opponents and Cameroon in the last decade and will seek to rebound with win at the Zone Five Africa Games qualifiers set for Kampala, Uganda from May 18-24.
It will be Kenya's first hurdle in their campaign to defend the Africa Games title, which they won in 2015 in Kinshasa.
The Africa Games finals will be held in Rabat from Aug. 9-31 with the seven qualifiers meeting host Morocco.
The zonal qualifiers will provide incoming Italian Shaileen Ramdoo, who is expected to commence work in Nairobi on May 10, a glimpse of what to expect as he is tasked with reviving the team.
He will decide on who to drop form the 20-member team to 14 players that will make the trip to Kampala on May 16.
"The foreign coach will come help raise the level of competition and the game of our girls and increase our chances of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics," Waithaka Kioni, chairman of the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) said on Thursday.
Acting head coach Japheth Munala, however, remains adamant the former African queens will put up a brave fight in the zonal qualifier in Uganda. Only six countries - Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania - have confirmed participation.
Five others teams - Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, South Sudan and Burundi - will give the tournament a bye.
The Intercontinental Olympic qualifying tournament is set for August in Italy where Kenya will face Italy, who finished second at the World Championships, the Netherlands and Belgium from Aug. 2-4. Only the winner will secure a ticket to 2020 Tokyo Games.
Should Kenya fail, they still have another chance through the Africa Olympic qualifiers in April next year to secure their berth in Tokyo. Kenya last competed at the Olympics in Athens in 2004.