Malkia Strikers Head Coach who doubles up as the Technical Director of KCB Bank Ladies’ Volleyball Team, Paul Bitok this morning donated indoor playing kits and new training volley balls (worth 50,000 Kshs) to KVF national league newbies, Vihiga Ladies Volleyball Team, through the club officials at KCB Sports club, in Nairobi.
KCB Bank Ladies Team played the league Debutantes, Vihiga, on the 5th of February, at Makande hall in Mombasa, a match that saw the bankers emerge victorious against the new kids on the block.
“We played Vihiga Volleyball team in Mombasa and I noticed that they lacked indoor playing kits. I was touched and immediately embarked on changing that narrative by sourcing for a full set of indoor playing kits for the whole team”* , Said Coach Paul Bitok while handing over the new uniforms to the team officials led by Team Manager Sammy Mugita, Head Coach Samuel Mugata and the teams’ head of press Vincent Ababu.
“I sincerely thank the team for giving opportunities for the ladies to showcase their talent by registering them in the league and honoring league fixtures despite the lack of sponsorship”, added Coach Bitok.
On his part, Head Coach Samuel Mugata reiterated their commitment to ensure that they keep nurturing volleyball talent from the county and beyond while targeting a top 5 finish in the current KVF league season. *“Our target, being our maiden season, is to finish in the top 5, thereafter in the subsequent seasons, we will set our eyes on the top 4 slots.”* Said Coach Mugata. Despite the vast challenges that they face as a team, Coach Mugata insisted that they will soldier on and are ready to welcome any form of support from either an individual or a company.
“I sincerely thank Coach Bitok for his personal contribution to the team, it will go a long way in helping the team establish itself as a top-tier team for many years to come. We welcome any form of support since we are currently operating on a tight budget”* added Coach Mugata.
Coach Bitok, who is eyeing the Deputy President’s seat in the forthcoming KVF elections said that if and when elected, he will ensure that there is enough support for clubs, especially the women’s clubs to ensure that the level of competition goes higher. Currently there are 8 teams in the league but the fate of 2 still remains unknown due to lack of enough support thereby killing the talent that would have otherwise been nurtured to greater heights.
About Paul Bitok – Wikipedia
Paul Bitok (born 1974) is a Kenyan volleyball player and coach who lead the women’s national team in Rwanda. He is the head coach of the Kenya women’s national volleyball team which qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics, although before their first match Brazilian coach Luizomar de Moura [pt] was announced as Kenya’s head volleyball coach.
Bitok was born in Simat in Uasin Gishu County to a sporting family.He grew to be two metres tall and he was encouraged at Kapsabet High School to play basketball with the possibility of playing for an American team. Bitok preferred volleyball as there were less rules and it could be played with basic equipment. His home town of Simat did not have basketball facilities but volleyball had a local following. Many of the national players came from Simat. When he was nineteen he was playing in the national league and he went to work as a bank clerk for the Kenya Commercial Bank as he played for their volleyball team.
He was the first Kenyan volleyball player to be employed by a foreign team. He was playing in Tunisia in 2003 and he later moved to play in Croatia. He returned to Kenya where he stopped playing but he was still involved in sports administration. In 2005 he returned to the Kenya Commercial Bank as their chief volleyball coach. The team was fourth in the national league, but the following year they were the best team in Africaand he was asked to be assistant coach to Sadatoshi Sugawara for Kenya’s national team. This was a step up and in 2008 he was head hunted by Rwanda to be their national coach, but he turned down the offer to go to Budapest to learn more about sports coaching. With his new expertise he returned to Rwanda where he introduced training from an early age. Camps were established in the provinces where young players could be developed. When he returned in 2020 Rwanda had teams competing internationally in every age category and the national team were the champions of Africa.
In January 2020 he was named “Coach of the Year” at the Mombasa Sports Club during the SOYA awards.
Under Bitok’s leadership, Kenya’s women’s volleyball team the Malkia Strikers won the gold medal at the African Games and they qualified for the postponed 2020 Summer Olympics which was the first time in sixteen years. The chosen players’ names were revealed on 26 June 2021. Bitok chose the veteran Mercy Moim as captain and veteran Jane Wacu also made the team, but former players Violet Makuto and Elizabeth Wanyama were not included. The team received additional coaching from six Brazilian coaches who visited Kenya and the team was then sent to Nairobi where they received additional coaching from the Brazilian coach Luizomar de Moura. The other teams in their group are the home team Japan, Serbia, Brazil, Korea and the Dominican Republic.
The team were waved away from Nairobi by President Uhuru Kenyatta for the Olympics in Tokyo. They travelled in three batches to try and minimise the chances of being effected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They would train for two weeks in Kurumu city but Bitok would lose three days of training due to the phased arrival. The team’s opening match was on July 25th in Tokyo against Japan. Surprisingly Bitok was not on the match’s touchline, as Luizomar de Moura was announced as Kenya’s head volleyball coach. De Moura spoke to the press via the team manager. The team lost their first match against Japan in straight sets.