Kenya Prisons players cheer on during the Women Africa Clubs Championship tie in 2011. Kenyan teams, including Prisons, are expected to dominate at the Kasarani meet. Photo/File
Kenyan teams are expected to dominate when the African women club volleyball championships begin this week at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
The last three competitions were won by Kenyan sides where Kenya Prisons is the reigning champions. KCB won in Egypt in 2008, Prisons in 2010 in Mauritius and last year in Nairobi.
Kenya will be represented by three clubs including two-time champions Kenya Prisons, regular finalists and past winners Kenya Pipeline as well as KCB.
On paper, the Kenyan clubs start as favourites not just because of their regular appearances in the finals but also because of the home court advantage.
And now the Kenya Volleyball Federation expects the three Kenyan sides to continue their dominance on the continental scene.
“The past three years, we have had Kenyan teams dominating. We expect the local girls to put their best foot forward and we are confident that they will do well, but we also are wary of the threat posted by other teams especially the North Africans”, said Evans Wasike of the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF).
What threatens Kenya’s future is the lack of a proper professional league unlike some of the North Africans, including Algeria and Egypt.
Clubs from these two countries enjoy massive corporate support as well as professionalised services in their recruitment, training and exposure.
Prisons coach David Lung’aho said there is need to professionalise the game and make it attract more sponsors.
As it stands now, there is no monetary value in winning the national league nor is there any in winning the African title save for the pride.
“Volleyball is the only team sport that Kenyans are always assured will win an African title and make it to the world championships and the Olympics, yet there is neither government input not corporate sponsorship,” observed Lung’aho.
“For us to move on, the government and the corporate need to come and help the sport develop just like in football and athletics.”
Lack of proper facilities is another threat. Save for the Kasarani gymnasium, there is no other indoor facility that can host international event.
“Our league matches are played outdoors. We only have one indoor facility which the Kasarani gym. Nyayo Stadium is not up to standard,” he added.