Congratulations Malkia Strikers for earning a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after a 16-year hiatus.
This is the 3rd time in independence Kenya that our volleyball team will be matching up against the best of the best at the Olympics. And the team deserves it. Malkia Strikers belong at the world stage.
The Kenya women volleyball team’s prowess in Africa is well documented. No other country has dominated the sport in the continent more than our Malkia Strikers: 5-time All African Games gold medalists and 9-time African champions. Impressive resume.
20 years ago, in Sydney, Kenya made sporting history by booking a ticket to the Olympics, for the first time. This came as no surprise because these were years of the volleyball golden generation, anchored in players who were products of high school rivalry between Mukumu Girls and Lugulu girls.
The star studded squad coached by Japanese Sadatoshi Sugawara boasted the likes of outside hitter Doris Wefwafwa, setter Mary Ayuma, left attacker Violet Barasa, middle blocker Margaret Indakala, right attacker Ednah Chepngeno, left attacker Jackline Makokha, setter Judith Serenge, outside hitter Dorcas Ndasaba, libero Emily Wesutila, middle blocker Hellen Elele, middle blocker Esther Barno among others. Oh my!
I recall the match between Kenya and Brazil. All over Kenya-from the forgotten corners in Shamakhoko to the high-altitude areas of Kiamutugu, Kenyans were glued to their TV screens.
And the match did not disappoint, and what was witnessed that day will forever be stenciled in the mental sheets of many.
Future generations will be told tales of how set by set, dig for dig, the legendary Leila Gomes de Barros and our very own Dorcas Wefwafwa went after each other.
If you do not recall Wefwafwa shouting “Ka shoti” to setter Elele while pointing where she wanted the ball placed, and Elele giving just what the doctor recommended, then you missed out on a glorious moment.
That day, the world witnessed why Doris earned the nickname: “Scum Missile.” So great was Wefwafwa at the tournament, that Cuban hard-hitting legend Alejandrina Mireya Luis could not help, but praise her performance
Two years ago, Barros became the first woman to represent the federal district of Brazil in the Senate.
Sadly, Doris and Mary Ayuma have since passed on. I am sure they will be cheering on the team from heaven.
We are in the present. This is the time for Sharon Chepchumba, Mercy Moim and others, and they have destiny with history in Tokyo.
Kenya is yet to win a match at the Olympics. In 2004, the team did not win a single set. In total, we have only won 2 sets (dating back to 2000).
This is the time to make the world see Kenya as not just an African volleyball powerhouse, but a country ready to strike at the volleyball superpowers.
Borrowing from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “who are those Brazilian and American hitters, were they not borne of women?
Such players, Malkia Strikers need not fear them