NAIROBI, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Former Rwanda volleyball coach Paul Bitok has been named to guide Kenya team to the Africa Games in Morocco and the World Cup in Japan.
Bitok takes over from Italian tactician Shailen Ramdoo, who had been seconded to Kenya from world volleyball governing body FIVB, and will have his task cut out as he leads the country to defend the Africa Games title in Rabat, Morocco starting from August 19-31.
"I am pleased to serve my home country in this capacity. I have been away for long I know many things may have changed but we will all need to work together as a team - players, coaches, manager, doctor, and the federation," said Bitok on Friday in Nairobi.
Kenya and Cameroon are the top-ranked women's sides while Egypt and Tunisia men's teams will represent Africa at the World Cup. The women's competition will run from Sept. 14 to 29, followed by the men's event from Oct. 1 to 15.
The 12 participating teams will be involved in a single round-robin competition over 11 match days, with one single ranking per gender.
"In the recent encounter in Africa Cup of Nation and the Intercontinental Olympic qualifiers tournament in Italy, Kenya showed some weakness while playing against Cameroon, Belgium, Netherlands, and Italy. We need to focus on those and perfect them in the next few days. I believe in the players' capabilities since I have worked with them on many occasions before leaving to work with Rwanda. If these players give their best we shall come back with victory from Morocco for the Africa Games and Japan for the World Cup," said Bitok.
Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) president Waithaka Kioni said Bitok will take over barely two months after he left Rwanda. He replaces Ramdoo whose four-month contract expired on Aug. 1.
"Bitok's appointment comes at a time when Kenya's game seems to have stagnated with Cameroon, their new-found opponents, reigning supreme in the last two African Cup of Nations tournaments," said Kioni.
Bitok is a former international having played for local side KCB before he signed with Tunisia side Etoile Sportive in 1998. He has also led Rwanda for 10 years.
Bitok's main challenge will be to overcome Cameroon and reestablish Kenya as the supreme team in women's volleyball in Africa and secure return to the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. Kenya last featured in the Olympics back in 2004 in Athens, Greece. Enditem