Kenya failed to beat Cameroon, but this time not on the volleyball courts but in the bid to host the Africa Olympics qualifiers set for January 6-12 next year.
The two nations, now fierce rivals as far as the sport is concerned, had bid to host the African qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Malkia Strikers have beaten Cameroon twice in the last two months to regain their dominance over the Central Africans.
But it was Cameroon who had the final laugh on Wednesday evening after Confederation of African Volleyball confirmed that the Central Africans will host the event.
Kenya had initially deposited Sh5 million to host the event but Cameroon countered the move with Sh6 million, the East Africans raised the bid with a Sh6.5 million offer but their rivals countered with Sh7 million. Kenya extended it to Sh8.1 million before their competitors placed it at Sh8.5 million to be awarded the hosting rights for the 2020 event.
Cameroon hosted the qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Olympics in 2015 and won the sole ticket reserved for the continent in the Summer Games. The Central Africans lost all matches in Rio.
Reached for comment, a disappointed Kenya volleyball Federation vice chairman Charles Nyaberi confirmed the development.
"It’s sad we have lost the bid to host the continental qualifiers to Cameroon. We all know the advantage of being the hosts but we will just have to start planning early to compete in the event as our objective is to see to it that the team returns to the Olympics. The team is at a better place now and we can only hope for the best,” said Nyaberi.
Kenya last participated in the Olympics in the 2004 Athens Games.
Meanwhile, the KVF national executive committee will next Saturday hold a meeting to discuss the composition of the national women’s team technical bench after the caretaker coach Paul Bitok stepped down on Tuesday.
The acclaimed coach called it a day upon return from Japan where he had guided the Malkia Strikers to bagging one win in the recently concluded FIVB World Cup.
Kenya won against their much-improved African counterparts Cameroon 3-1 (25-15, 26-24, 14-25, 25-21) but lost the other 10 matches.
And as the KVF executive is scheduled to meet next weekend, it remains to be seen if they will reinstate Japheth Munala and Josp Barasa as the head coach and assistant respectively or they will go shopping for a new coach, with Nyaberi saying time will tell.
Before the arrival of Bitok from Rwanda, Munala and Barasa were working as the assistants to the now departed Finish FIVB instructor Shaileen Ramdoo.
Prior to World Cup, Bitok had led the East Africans to retain the African Games gold in August in Rabat, Morocco.
In a long post on his Facebook page, Bitok seemed to indicate his desire to go for the an executive position in the 2022 elections rather than remain a coach.
With the conclusion of 2019 Volleyball World Cup, I would like to commend the resounding effort of our National team. While the global stage was tough, we did not falter on our position as the continents giants. A lot lies ahead of us, it requires enormous preparation. One such major event is the 2020 Olympics. As we set our sights on this, I would like to affirm my commitment and support for the Kenya national team on any given day,” he said.
"As we move forward, pending discussions with the federation on my role in future, I would like to extend my collaboration in a number of ways beyond coaching. It’s my goal to venture into a more advisory role specifically sports management and consultancy."