Kenya to face 5 nations in Africa Olympics v'ball qualifier

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NAIROBI, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenya coach Paul Bitok says there will be no love lost when his team comes up against hosts Cameroon in the African women's volleyball qualifiers for the Olympic Games starting on Sunday in Yaounde.

The Kenya team, which seeks its first qualification in 16 years, last played at the Olympic Games finals at Athens 2004.

However, Bitok says he hopes to write history as the coach to return the country to the highest sports stage, the Olympics.

"We are out for war. There will be no second chances and this will define the trajectory the sport will take and it is important Kenya to secure the Africa berth and compete at the Olympics," said Bitok on Friday.

Cameroon and Kenya hold a 1-2 win ration from 2019. Kenya beat Cameroon at the World Championships in Japan and at the Africa Games in Morocco. However, Cameroon beat Kenya to retain the Africa Cup of Nations last July.

The Africa Olympic qualifiers in Cameroon will have five teams: the hosts, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Botswana. Only the winner of the round-robin contest will seal the ticket to Japan.

Kenya's women beach volleyball teams, on the other hand, have pitched camp in Mombasa for training ahead of the zonal qualifiers scheduled for Jan. 9 to 12 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The women's team will be looking to join the men's team in the second round of the African qualifiers.

National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) secretary General Francis Mutuku says he is hopeful more Kenya teams will qualify for the Olympics to see the country enter a larger squad compared to the 89 who were in Rio Olympics back in 2016.

Kenya already has secured slots for athletics (47 athletes), men's and women's rugby teams and two swimmers for the Olympic Games set to start from July 24 to Aug. 9 in Japan's capital.

"An impressive number of athletes have already qualified for the Olympics, but we want the others to get inspired and focus to earn their berths. This has been a product of focus, discipline and hard work from the individual athletes," said Mutuku.

Kenya plans to enter over 100 athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. Enditem

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