The postponement of the men’s African Volleyball Clubs Championship to mid-next month in Tunisia has been received with mixed feelings locally.
The event, which was earlier scheduled for March 31 to April 12 in Cairo, Egypt, will be staged from April 16-28.
General Service Unit (GSU), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Prisons were scheduled to fly the country’s flag in the annual event.
The three booked their slots for the competition after finishing first, second and third in that order respectively during the 2019 Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) National League.
In a communication to KVF on Monday night, Confederation of Africa Volleyball (CAVB) said Egypt failed to confirm whether it would the host the men’s event and thus Tunisia awarded rights to host both the men and women’s championship.
KPA have forced to break their training camp after the development and according to team manager, Joel Koskei the news caught them unaware.
“We had stepped up our training at the KPA Makande Hall after the KPA management allowed us enter residential training, but we have to break camp today (Tuesday) and regroup again in two weeks’ time,” Koskei said.
“We were very ready for the event after getting all the necessary approvals for the travel from the management, but we have to shelve everything at least for now as we re-strategise”, Koskei added.
According to him, 17 players were in the training camp in readiness for the event, but only 14 were to make the trip.
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KPA are currently leading the the KVF National League standings with 21 points with only one loss to Kenya Prisons.
Prisons team manager Hassan Tari said it was a blessing in disguise.
“The development gives us ample time to prepare. The earlier period was limited and we had not done much and I’m glad the event has been pushed back, ” said Tari.
“We are now a full house thanks to Sila Kipruto’s return to play and therefore we can only hope for the best in the clubs championship and the league,” he added.
Kipruto, who is fresh from playing with club Al Jawa of Saudi Arabia, has recovered from a knee injury.
Local champions and regulars GSU coach Gideon Tarus said they have no choice but to go with the flow.
“Our plans were in top gear and we hope to keep up. We had secured Nyayo National Stadium Indoor arena on Monday ahead of the championship, but now that the event has been postponed, we will have to wait and see what our sponsors will say,” said Tarus, a former national men’s team assistant coach.
The women’s competition is primed for May 16 to 28. Kenya, which had shown interest to host it, pulled out due to lack of sponsorship.
Kenya Prisons, KCB and Kenya Pipeline will represent the country in the 12-day event.