What you need to know:
- Bitok said Wafalme Stars deserve better treatment despite not matching their female counterparts with performance on the court
- Bitok's sentiments comes after the team, which has been in a non-residential training at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium for over a month, failed to report to residential camp days to their scheduled departure
- The team is set to leave for Egypt on Friday with the championship set to be held from September 1 to 14
Newly elected Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) deputy president Paul Bitok has appealed to the government to accord Kenya men's volleyball team,Wafalme Stars, the much needed support ahead of next month's African Nations Championship in Cairo, Egypt.
Bitok said Wafalme Stars deserve better treatment despite not matching their female counterparts with performance on the court.
Bitok's sentiments comes after the team, which has been in a non-residential training at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium for over a month, failed to report to residential camp days to their scheduled departure.
"Unlike Wafalme, the mention of Malkia Strikers can instantly get you sponsors. But for the men's team a lot has to give. And that's why I'm urging the government through the Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba to come on board and help the team to have ample training even if it's for four days. We know the government has taken care of the air tickets and accommodation in Egypt, but I know it can still pull strings for the team's well-being," said Bitok during the Monday night NTV sports show, SportOn co-hosted by Bernard Ndong and James Wokabi.
"It's unfortunate that the problems I experienced while I was a player are the same ones the current players are going through and it's not fair. Like on Monday, the federation had to pay some money for the team to move their training sessions to Moi International Sports Centre Karasani indoor arena from Nyayo. It's sad that a national team has to part with some cash for them to access a government facility," he added.
The team is set to leave for Egypt on Friday with the championship set to be held from September 1 to 14.
Bitok also revealed that the KCB pair of setter Emmaculate Nekesa and outside hitter Juliana Namutira and Jemimah Siang'u from Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) have attracted interest from European countries but he was tight-lipped on names of the clubs.
The official said having few players turn professional among other factors were the reasons Malkia Strikers recently reclaimed the African Nations Championship title and sealed the Paris Olympics slot.
"The three months away from Kenya did us good. We trained in Morocco for a month before we moved to France and played in the FIVB Challenger Cup. We then extended our stay in France for a week before moving to Yaounde.The team accessed high quality training necessitated by FIVB. Brazilian coaches, good facilities and few professional players were the turning point for us," said Bitok.
Kenya defeated Egypt 3-0 in the final to reclaim the trophy they last won in 2015.
With the win, Malkia Strikers booked a place in the next year's Paris Olympics and the 2025 World Championship.