Kenya’s para-volleyball to brave Games minus allowance
The national sitting volleyball teams will have to make do without allowances at the African Championship in Rwanda after the Government admitted they do not have enough funds.
The cash-strapped team comprising of 24 players, 12 men and 12 women, spent the better half of Friday camping at the Ministry of Sports headquarters in Nairobi as they sought audience with Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario.
Instead, they met Director of Administration at the Ministry of Sports, Haron Komen who pledged to ensure their moneys are paid upon returning from the continental championship that will run from September 13-17.
“We have been supporting the teams all through and it’s not only the para-volleyball. Recently we had a paralympic team in London, also there was a deaflympics team sent to Turkey and this shows our commitment as a government. It’s hard because sometimes our resources get overstretched since we are the sole sponsors,” Komen stated.
The para volleyball teams have been training at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and were due to travel on Friday but have failed to do so due to logistical failures.
Komen said the Government has pumped a sum of up to KSh8 million to cater for the competition which will cover the registration fee for participation as well as accommodation of the players while in Rwanda.
Another 404,000 has been channeled towards kitting the team which Komen confirmed that have already been procured.
However, the Kenya Para-Volley Federation officials who were accompanied by their players as they voiced their grievances at the Ministry of sports offices claimed that the government has not accorded them enough support befitting a team going for a continental championship.
Chairman Polycarp Mboya claimed the team has gone through a lot of problems in their preparations blaming the government for sideling them unlike other sports.
“We reported to camp for three week without any cent and these players have struggled so much during that period which has derailed their morale. Right now as we are going to travel we demand that players must be given allowances, given completion kits and track suit which will boost the morale of the players,” Mboya noted.
Kenya was earlier earmarked to host the competition in between May 15-22 but had to withdraw due to financial challenges.
Despite the team going through the challenges, Federation Secretary General Justus Katumo is upbeat the team will still do well in the continental Championships which is also the qualification for 2018 Sitting Volleyball World Championships in Netherlands.
“We have high hopes that the players will do well in Rwanda and I hope that both teams (men and women) will qualify for the World Championships although we expect a tough encounter from Egypt in men and Rwanda in women but we are ready,” Katumo charged.
Rwanda will be hosting the 5-day tournament for the second time in a row after hosting the 2015 showpiece where they went on to win in the women category.
Other countries set to participate include; Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda, Algeria, South Africa and Morocco.
-Report by Gilbert Kiprotich.
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