By NATION Correspondent
Unfair officiating favouring North African teams will be the main challenge facing Kenya Pipeline's women's volleyball team in the Africa Club Championship in Algeria this week.
Pipeline team manager Ezekiel Cheptumo yesterday said they expect a tough championship but pledged that the team will give Kenya good representation and reclain the continental title.
The team, which lost the championship to Egypt's Al Ahly last year in Mauritius, leave for Algeria tonight along with Kenya's second team to the tournament, Telkom.
The team comprises 16 players, two coaches and two officials.
The players are: Jacquline Makokha, Edna Chepng'eno, Esther Chepkosgey, Judy Sirenge, Jane Mwai, Gladys Nasikanda, Emily Chemutai, Lucy Chege, Roselida Obunaka, Mercy Wesutila, Edna Rotich and Rhoda Lyali.
The coaches are Gilbert Ohanya, who will be assisted by Francis Gathogo, while the team's other officials are Rose Osiako (head of delegation) and Joseph Belion.
Meanwhile, Telkom coach Paul Gitau said the main challenge will be from telkom and Ahly.
The coach, who is impressed with the recent perfomances of his 13 players, is also confident of winning all the group matches.
"We are going to beat all others apart from Pipeline and Ahly who might give us a good run for our money," the coach said.
Mary Ayuma, who recently lost her husband, has already been replaced by Esther Ouna who has been recalled to the team.
The team's officials are Paul Gitau (head coach), Abdul Muge (assistant coach), Hori Kiri (tactician).
The players are: Margaret Indakala (captain), Dorcas Nandasaba, Nancy Lusanji, Esther Ouna, Margaret Mukoya, Nancy Skobe, Janet Ngerich, Esther Barno, Grace Jore, Milka Njoki, Jacquline Baraza, Nancy Wataka and Abigael Tarus.
Meanwhile, Pakistan have granted travel visas to an Indian team taking part in the Asian junior volleyball qualifying tournament starting in Islamabad from Thursday, officials said yesterday.
"We got the visas today and the team leaves by the evening flight (for Lahore)," the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) announced.
"If we had not been ready with everything, then there was little chance of our team getting there in time or proper frame of mind to compete," a VFI official added.
The trip was cleared amid uncertainty over whether Pakistan would offer the visas amid bitter bilateral relations which have been carried into sporting ties between the two South Asian arch-rivals.
But despite the strained ties New Delhi has granted visas to Pakistan for the Commonwealth table tennis championships, but Pakistan had pulled out at the last minute stating the documents came too late.
India has, however, flatly ruled out playing cricket with Pakistan, stating that Islamabad must first end its hostile propoganda against India and stop arming and training Muslim guerrillas of Kashmir.