Local friendlies helped us to prepare for African championships – Bitok

Head coach Paul Bitok gives instructions to his players before facing league side UTB in Wednesday’s friendly match at Amahoro Stadium. Damas Sikubwabo.

Friendly game

Wednesday

National U21 Team 2-3 UTB

The national volleyball team head coach, Paul Bitok, has said there are positives to take from the friendly matches his under-21 men’s side have played over the last four weeks as Rwanda prepare for the African U21 Men’s Volleyball Championships.

The 2018 continental showpiece runs from September 12-19 in Nigeria.

Bitok’s youthful team lost to University of Tourism Technology and Business Studies (UTB) in a five-set (2-3) thriller at Amahoro Indoor Stadium on Wednesday, and the two sides meet in the last friendly match tonight at 7pm – same venue.

According to the Kenya-born tactician Bitok, the series of friendly matches enabled him to have an informed view of his players – strengths and areas of improvement.

“From the matches we played, I noticed we are ‘good to go’ in spikes and blocks, but we are still weak in the services and the defence – those are the two areas we are trying to fix before we depart for Nigeria on Sunday,” Bitok told Times Sport on Thursday.

Target in Nigeria

When asked what will be Rwanda’s top priority at the African Championships in Nigeria, the former Kenya international said, with no hesitation, that finishing in top three is the main target so they can secure a ticket to the 2019 FIVB World Championships in Bahrain.

To achieve the target, Bitok and his youngsters will have to overcome stiff challenge from some of Africa’s best such as Egypt, Cameroon, Morocco and hosts Nigeria.

Other expected teams at the week-long tournament include; Tanzania, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger and Botswana.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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