Kenya Prisons withdraws from continental championship

Wednesday March 16 2016

Kenya Prisons volleyball players celebrate after gaining a point against GSU in the opening match of the Kenya Volleyball play-offs at the KPA Makande Gym on November 27, 2015. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA |

Kenya Prisons volleyball players celebrate after gaining a point against GSU at a past match. Prisons are in Tunis for the 2017 Africa Club Championship. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

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Kenya Prisons will not take part in this year's men's African Volleyball Club Championship owing to a "lack of funds".

This confirmation was detailed in a communique released by the African Volleyball Federation (CAVB).

The communique also listed the 24 teams drawn from 17 countries - including Kenya Volleyball Federation champions General Service Unit (GSU) - which have been cleared to compete at the annual event set for Cairo from March 23-April 1, 2016.

Prisons' withdrawal from the tournament highlights a worrying trend of withdrawals by the department, which has over the years built its reputation by offering sporting opportunities to talented athletes notably in the volleyball, athletics and netball disciplines.

Last year, the Prisons women’s volleyball team – who are five-time champions of the African club championships - failed to take part in the competition that was staged in Tunisia.

Separately, the Ministry of Sports has in recent times shown inability or unwillingness to fund the participation of the men's and women's volleyball teams, plus the boxing teams at international competitions.

Deputy Commissioner of Prisons Rose Muturi declined to comment when contacted over the matter.

“I’m aware of the situation but I have no comment at the moment,” she said.

KVF chairman Waithaka Kioni said this trend was "disturbing".

"It is through such competitions that we get to expose our talents, create employment, build strong national teams and market the country. I can imagine how demoralised the youthful athletes who have been preparing for the past two weeks are," said Kioni.

Indeed, it is through this very competition that the likes of Kenya internationals Mike Chemos, Dennis Mokua and Silas Kipruto were scouted and eventually handed the chance to compete in more established competitions in Japan and Finland. Similarly, the quartet of Brackcides Agala, Jane Wacu and Everlyn Makuto (France) plus Mercy Moim (Finland) are now based in Europe.

Daily Nation Sport reliably understands the Kenya Prisons men's team, which finished runners up in the KVF top flight league last season, were locked out of the event after failing to remit the required registration and visa fees amounting to $1600 (about Sh160,000) on time. The team required an additional Sh5 million to make the trip.

Interestingly, GSU which also falls under the same Ministry, managed to meet these financial obligations on time. GSU are likely to compete against El Zamalek, Al Ahly (Egypt), Ahly Benghazi (Libya), Cameroon Sportive, Forces Armees Et Police (Cameroon) and Nemo Stars (Uganda) at the competition.