National beach volleyball coach Sammy Mulinge has urged Kenya Volleyball Federation to bid for the hosting rights of the second or third round of the Africa 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.
According to Mulinge, hosting the qualifying tournaments will place Team Kenya in good stead of qualifying for the Summer Games for the first time in the history of the country.
Africa volleyball governing body, CAVB, on Wednesday released the draws for the second phase of the Continental Cup, which will see 20 teams divided into four groups of five.
The top two teams in each group will qualify for the third and final phase. The eight teams will battle for the sole slot reserved for Africa at the Tokyo Olympics.
While the men’s team has been pooled with Gambia, Mauritius, South Sudan and Botswana, the women’s team will face Nigeria, Cape Verde, DR Congo and Zambia in the second round.
Men’s team is comprised of Ibrahim Oduor, James Mwaniki, Cornelius Kiplagat and Brian Meli. The women have Brackcides Agala, Gaudencia Makokha, Phosca Kasisi and Yvonne Wavinya.
“It’s a good draw and we have a chance of qualifying despite having a team that has not played beach volleyball for long. Option A is we host either second round or third round because home advantage gives you an edge. Option B is we fail to host and travel for the qualifiers.
“We have discussed with the federation and I believe we stand a big chance if we host the qualifiers. This is beach volleyball and the dynamics are so different from volleyball,” Mulinge told Nation Sport.
The second round will be held between mid-February and mid-March and Mulinge insists that both teams have to report to camp on Monday to start preparations.
“Most of our players will only be playing in their second international competition so there is a lot of work to be done. Already, we are one month behind schedule and I have shared my program with the federation so that we can start training on Monday.
We showed in the first round that we have talented players and with good preparations we can do it,” said Mulinge.
Gambia, the reigning African Games beach volleyball champions, will pose a big threat to the men alongside Botswana.
The women will face stiff competition from Nigeria, who participated in last year’s World Championships.