By Kristel Satumbaga
Kenyan mentor Godfrey Okumu will focus on speed, power and accuracy on his first year as coach of the University of the Philippines’ women’s volleyball team.
Okumu, who holds coaching certificates for International Olympic Coaching, FIVB Level 3 and Japan Sports, said these three aspects are crucial in their goal of returning to the Final Four in the UAAP after missing it last season.
“It’s a challenge we’re ready to take,” said Okumu, who was officially named as the Lady Maroons’ new mentor on Saturday through the support of the United Auctioneers Inc., the UP Women’s Volleyball Team Alumnae Association and Nowhere to Go But UP Foundation.
“If we are accurate in our receiving, in spikes and setting… the way we’re serving the ball, then we can challenge our opponents well. Mostly speed, I think. It would be a good help,” added Okumu.
A high school coach back in Japan, Okumu said he wanted to impart the Japanese style of volleyball with the team. He previously met the Lady Maroons during the latter’s training stint in Japan last January.
“There’s a lot of good chemistry between me and the players so I can say that I already know them. Our target is to win more games than last year, make it to the Top 4… get a respectable position,” said Okumu, who will be with the team for at least three years.
Okumu, who played for Kenya for 12 years and later professionally for teams in Asia, Africa and Europe, also coached the Oita Miyoshi Wiesse Adler professional men’s team in Japan. He was part of the coaching staff of the Kenyan women’s team that played in the 2006 and 2010 World Championships, and the 2011 and 2015 World Cup.
Like Okumu, United Auctioneers Inc. president Dominic Sytin and UP president Danilo Concepcion are optimistic of the Lady Maroons’ chances in the upcoming UAAP season.
“Coach Godfrey Okumu took the sacrifice to be with the team. I think he is the perfect coach to mold the team in emphasizing discipline and strength,” said Concepcion.