Kenya's Para volleyball teams stranded in Nairobi

Kenya's para volleyball team players Samson Njorege (left), Itaken Timoi (centre), Judy Osinda and Beth Wanja outside the Ministry of Sports officies in Nairobi on September 8, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

What you need to know:

  • The continental showpiece was initially supposed to be held in Kenya from May 15-22, but Kenya pulled out citing financial constraints.

The national sitting volleyball team on Friday camped at the Ministry of Sports offices in a bid to get audience with Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario.

The para volleyball team was meant to leave the country yesterday afternoon for the ParaVolley Africa Championship scheduled to serve off on September 13 in Rwanda, but had not received any communication from the ministry regarding facilitation of their travel.

“We are in a crisis. We have been here since morning and we want to stay here until someone comes to address us. We are supposed to represent the country in a major qualifier that begins in four days, but up to now we don’t know if we will travel or not,” said Polycap Mboya, the Kenya Sitting Volleyball Federation chairman.

“The ministry has approved funds to cater only for the competition registration charges and world membership fees. They don’t have anything to give the players as allowances or even to purchase training and playing kits. Where is the wisdom in catering for registration fees when the players do not have playing kits?”

The 30-member sitting volleyball squad has been in non-residential training at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani for the last three weeks under the guidance of coach Juma Walukhu.

“These players are disabled, but they have engaged in non-residential training for the last three weeks, with no lunch nor allowances whatsoever from the ministry. That is very unfortunate for a ministry that told us to give up the hosting rights of this particular competition to allow them cater for the team,” Mboya added.

The ParaVolley Africa Championship, which begins on Wednesday next week, also doubles up as a qualifier for the World Sitting Volleyball Championship which will be held in July 2018 in Hague, Netherlands.

In next week’s competition, Kenya expects to field both men and women’s teams to fight for two of the four tickets (two for either gender) reserved for Africa in next year’s world competition.

The sitting volleyball team are out to dislodge defending champions Rwanda and North African teams who have dominated the continental scene in the last decade.

In 2015, the men’s team wound up fourth after going down to hosts Rwanda in the semi-finals and losing again to Algeria in the third place playoffs. The women’s team clinched bronze after beating Democratic Republic of Congo in the playoffs.

Eight countries including Uganda, DRC, Morocco and Egypt have confirmed participation in the five-day event that will staged at the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) Gymnasium and Amahoro Indoor Stadium in Remera, Rwanda.

The continental showpiece was initially supposed to be held in Kenya from May 15-22, but Kenya pulled out citing financial constraints.

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