We were not ready, Under-20 coach Gitau says
- The Kenya Under-20 volleyball team head coach Paul Gitau has blamed ill-preparedness for the team's shock exit from the ongoing African Nations Championships at the capital Nairobi
- Cameroon defeated the Junior Malkia Strikers 3-1 on Thursday in Kasarani, delivering the final blow on the hosts who ungraciously crashed out in the group stages of the biennial competition
The Kenya Under-20 volleyball team head coach Paul Gitau has blamed ill-preparedness for the team’s shock exit from the ongoing African Nations Championships at the capital Nairobi.
Cameroon defeated the Junior Malkia Strikers 3-1 on Thursday in Kasarani, delivering the final blow on the hosts who ungraciously crashed out in the group stages of the biennial competition.
Gitau admitted his side failed to cope with the intensity of the visiting teams since most of them reported to camp late and fatigued following their participation at the East African Secondary School Games in Rwanda.
“I am happy we have learnt our mistakes the hard way, I selected this team during schools games and it was a very short period for them to have the good chemistry and these are the results. We live to fight another day,” Gitau who was appointed as the team’s head coach few months prior to the tourney told Citizen Digital.
The Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) Nak’s men league tactician also cautioned that the results against Cameroon and Nigeria should send a strong statement to the effect that Kenya, which has traditionally received the strongest challenge from North Africa, should now be prepared to face additional challenges from the West African sides.
“It is a wakeup call to everyone now because we might see North African and West African teams face off in the finals and that’s not a good message to us. These teams are investing heavily in the sport hence their good performance,” added Gitau.
The Junior Malkia Strikers finished third with three points in the Pool A with Cameroon and Nigeria who progressing to the last four from that group.
The former will face Rwanda in the semis on Friday at 4pm with the latter set to face off defending champions Egypt in the other last four tie at 6pm local time.
Meanwhile, the African Volleyball Confederation (CAVB) President Amr Elwani has challenged federation’s affiliates to invest and field teams in the age category competitions.
The supremo who is in the country for the ongoing African Nations championship, said the move will help in the smooth transition to the senior teams.
The CAVB boss who doubles up as FIVB executive vice president also noted that the continent’s volleyball standards have stagnated due to lack of finances.
“Truth be told, most African countries are not featuring teams in the age group categories and this might cost them in future. For these nations to continue prospering, they need to have feeder programmes, which include the age categories and this should be across the gender,” said Elwan.
He added: “It is sad that some of the federations don’t get the support from the government and sponsors, which in turn lock the federation from fielding the teams. Maybe the script would have been different if there were no financial constraints.”
The week-long event which is also serving as the next year’s World Championship for the same age bracket slated for Japan will serve out on Sunday with finalists set to fly Africa’s flag in the global fiesta.
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