FIVB step in to offer Malkia Strikers Olympic hopes


Malkia Strikers in a file photo`
Malkia Strikers in a file photo

World governing body, FIVB, has offered to support national women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers to seek qualification at the World Rio Olympics qualifiers after the team pulled out citing lack of funds.

In a communique to Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) chairman Waithaka Kioni on Wednesday, FIVB’s Director of Volleyball Events Gabrielle van Zwieten confirmed the Lausanne-based body would cater for Kenya’s accommodation plus part of the air ticket costs for the intercontinental qualification tournament in Puerto Rico in May.

Responding to KVF’s intention to withdraw from the qualifiers, FIVB acknowledged that, “Last year your women’s team was able to win for the first time in history the WGP Group 3. Which shows that your Federation is developing the sport.”

“We understand your point and the issue of the financial situation, which causes you to withdraw from this event. However we could give you the following option:  The arrival day for the WWOQT (in Puerto Rico), will be 17th May. We discussed with our travel agency and we can prepare a combined air ticket. Your team would first travel to Puerto Rico, then they will continue afterwards to Argentina for the WGP preliminary round.”

The World Grand Prix matches will be held in Tucuman Argentina between  June 3 to 5.

Kioni confirmed Kenya will be taking part in the Olympics qualifiers but they need raise close to Ksh2m to cover the difference in price of the ticket for making the stop in Puerto Rico after the initial Ksh10m cost proved to beyond them and informed their decision to withdraw.

The communication by FIVB now rekindles Malkia Strikers’ hopes of returning to the Summer Games for the first time since Athens 2004.

Kenya failed to earn a direct ticket to Rio de Janeiro games in August after losing to Egypt in the semifinals of the African qualifiers held in Cameroon in February. Egypt however also let slip the chance of winning the ticket after losing the finals to host nation Cameroon.

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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