Muted coverage of Malkia Strikers at World Championships undeserved

Malkia Strikers

Kenya players celebrate a point during their FIVB World Championships Pool A match against Puerto Rico at Gelredome arena in Arnhem, Netherlands on October 01, 2022.

Photo credit: Samuel Gacharira | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The answer to this question will tell you everything you need to know about the long journey we must travel in the fight for equality in sport.
  • I don’t by any means profess to know how to tackle the problem, and I don’t think I ever will. What I know is, however great your potential, it is irrelevant if you can’t put it out on the park. I guess that’s the bit we really should focus on.

The Fifa World Cup season is almost here and there’s no better time to study the row between space and sport with regards to gender equality in sports.

Soon, we will be unable to read, watch or view anything that isn’t related to the bonanza in Qatar. Expect media houses to reorganise their studios and slot in new shows for analysts to dissect and analyse every aspect of the tournament.

They will talk about every speck of history, discuss every news touching on participating teams and they will frequently offer predictions.

The audience will obviously catch this fever, and even those who are not diehard fans might find themselves leaping out of bed at 4.45am to catch the games.

Will Germany take it this year? Or will it be France? Maybe Spain will be the one to lift the trophy. Or will Costa Rica become the underdog to surprise us? Jersey sellers are about to make a killing in the next two months.

By this time next month, anyone looking to escape World Cup news will have to hide under a rock, because it will be everywhere.

All this is OK, but you know the irony? We shall be doing all that despite the fact that no Kenyan teams will be participating in the tournament.

Compare that attention and anticipated hype to what we witnessed a week ago when our own Malkia Strikers were in Arnhem for the FIVB World Championship.

The national women’s volleyball team was making their seventh appearance in the tournament but I bet more than half the country is unaware of this fact.

We expect sports stories to flow from the front to the back of local dailies starting November 20, even though Kenya will not be represented. Did we give our girls the same attention when they participated at that same elite level last month?

The answer to this question will tell you everything you need to know about the long journey we must travel in the fight for equality in sport.

I don’t by any means profess to know how to tackle the problem, and I don’t think I ever will. What I know is, however great your potential, it is irrelevant if you can’t put it out on the park. I guess that’s the bit we really should focus on.

Anyone who witnessed the spiraling success of England’s Lionesses as they advanced towards their Euros championship in July knows that these are unprecedented times for female sport.

Judging by the way we treated our African Queens (Malkia Strikers), we are taking too long to join the overdue party.

Malkia Strikers were viewed as the Davids against Goliath of their Pool A which also featured Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Puerto Rico and Cameroon.

They failed to realise their dream moment of making it to the second round, but they did stamp their place as a rising power in women volleyball in the world’s game.

This is the best team in the country and should be the team to raise Kenya’s profile in global sports, so why don’t we elevate them to the level they deserve? Is it because they are a women’s team.

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