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The East African : February 17th 2014
XII spo≥ts Back to d≥awing boa≥d fo≥ EA men’s volley ‘‘ The Kenyan team had the best chance in the ≥egion of qualifying fo≥ the wo≥ld championship but Egypt beat it to it, w≥ites A. AYODI T he dream by the Kenya national men’s volleyball team to qualify for its maiden World Championship fell short when continental champions Egypt grabbed their eighth ticket to the event, after winning the Africa Zone Pool “U” qualifier in Nairobi recently. The outcome casts doubts as to whether East Africa will have a representation at the global festival that runs from August 29 to September 9 in Poland. The Kenyan team was perceived as having the best chance of qualifying during the Nairobi event that was held from February 6 to 10. Kenya only needed to top their Pool “U” qualifiers that had Egypt Botswana, Zambia and Cape Verde to sail through to Poland. By Wednesday, all eyes were on Rwanda that faces hosts Cameroon, Algeria, Gabon and Nigeria in Pool “T” at their competition set for February 13 to 18 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Pool “V” qualifiers that feature hosts Seychelles, Tunisia, Congo Brazzaville, Niger and Senegal will run from March 2 to 8. Both Kenya and Egypt won in their matches, with a tie left to decide the Nairobi competition. The Pharaohs triumphed in 3-1 sets of 25-21, 25-22, 21-25 and 25-20 to clinch the ticket to Poland. Kenya head coach Gideon Chenje blamed the outcome on the fact that the team had had minimal build-up matches. “If we had the chance to play several high level friendlies a number of the mistakes especially in serving and reception could have been avoided,” said Chenje. Hopes were high after Egypt toiled in November last year to beat Kenya in 3-2 sets in the Africa Zone Five qualifier for the World Championships in Rwanda. 2010 Africa teams Egypt, Tunisia and Cameroon were Africa’s representatives at the 2010 World Championships in Italy. Now the Kenyan men’s team that has lived under the shadows of the women’s team that has qualified for almost all its World Championships, must go back to the drawing board. The Kenyan women’s team has represented The Kenyan men’s team, that has lived in the shadows of the women’s team, which has qualified for almost all its World Championships, must go back to the drawing board.” The EastAfrican MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 15-21,2014 Kenya’s national men’s volleybal team celebrates during a break at the 2014 world championship qualifiers against Egypt on February 7 at the at the Safaricom stadium in Nairobi. Pic: Martin Mukangu the continent in the past five World Championships (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010). Already, the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) is putting up academies for budding volleyballers who have completed school. The federation, however, is seeking increased government support to boost the game. KVF chairman Waithaka Kioni said they rarely get assistance from the government and when it happens, it is always a struggle. “During the Nairobi qualifiers, for example, the government only subsidised our training sessions at the arena the event took place,” Kioni said. “The least the government should do during such events is pay for the facilities then leave the rest to us.” KVF says it had to pay $600 daily to use the Arena. Rwanda coach Paul Bitok, who is a former Kenyan international, said Kenya is still in the learning process and, therefore, has a long way to go. “The Kenyan team over-relies women’s team The women’s contest for the Italy 2014 World Championships starts in Kenya. Nairobi hosts Seychelles, Uganda, Tunisia, Senegal, Mozambique and Cape Verde in Pool “U” from February 16 to 23. The next qualification round will see Algeria host Botswana, Ghana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Egypt in Pool “T” from February 23 to March 2. Africa will be represented by two women’s teams in the World Championships. The Kenyan women’s team has represented the continent in the past five World Championships (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010). Kenya’s national women’s volleyball team led by captain Janet Wanja, pose with the Africa Women Volleyball Nations Cup on September 19, 2013 in Nairobi. Pic: Chris Omollo on a few professionals like Philip Maiyo, which is detrimental,” Bitok explained. “In my assessment youth and junior programmes are the solution to the national team’s troubles, and not Maiyo or the current players.” Bitok said KVF must intensify scouting in schools besides helping the schools set up programmes to develop talent. “They will need basic things like balls and net,” said Bitok, who is optimistic about his Rwandan side qualifying for the World Championships. However, Bitok feels that Alge- ria and Cameroon will provide the greatest challenge. “These are the toughest in the pool and if we manage to post good results against them, then the rest will be easy,” said Bitok. Egypt coach Nour Atia said while Kenya has improved greatly in its backcourt play and reception, the team could enhance its skill by playing more international friendlies. “The team must stop playing on open courts while preparing for international games. It must embrace an indoor atmosphere which helps in all aspects of the game — be it reception or serves,” said Atia.
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