Lack of funds lock Kenya out of Olympics qualifiers

Tuesday January 5 2016

National men's volleyball team's Dennis Mokua in trains on July 10, 2013 at Nyayo Stadium. The team has withdrawn from Rio Olympics qualifiers owing to lack of funds. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

National men's volleyball team's Dennis Mokua in trains on July 10, 2013 at Nyayo Stadium. The team has withdrawn from Rio Olympics qualifiers owing to lack of funds. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DAVID KWALIMWA
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The men’s national volleyball team has withdrawn from the 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers.

Kenya Volleyball Federation’s first vice-chairman Martin Makokha told nation.co.ke on Monday it is as a result of lack of financial commitment from the government and National Olympic Committee of Kenya.

The qualifier, which had initially attracted 22 African teams, is set to begin in Brazzaville on Tuesday evening.

Egypt, alongside Algeria —which camped in Italy for a month in readiness for the qualifiers—Cameroon and Tunisia are some of the big names set to feature in competition.

Only one team will book a ticket to the Olympic Games set for this year in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

“We will break camp and disband the team. The players will not be heading to Brazzaville. The little money we received from our sponsors will be used for preparing the women’s team,” said Makokha.

When contacted, the newly appointed men’s national team coach Paul Gitau termed it a “scandal”

FACING CHALLENGES

“I am lost for words. I cannot tell why the government should deny our young men an opportunity to compete at the biggest sporting event in the world,” said Gitau.

The coach was in charge of the women’s “B” team, which triumphed at the African Games in Brazzaville last September.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch were not available for comment by the time of going to press.
The withdrawal from the qualifier is a new low for the men’s team that has been facing challenges.

Dogged by inconsistency, poor preparations and consequent dismal results, the national men’s team continues to shadow the women’s side Malkia Strikers, who are renowned for their continental dominance over the past half a decade.

The women’s national team, in the meantime, is expected to take part in the qualifiers for the Olympics scheduled for Cameroon next month.