NAIROBI, June 17 – Deputy President, William Ruto has awarded the triumphant national women’s volleyball team with Sh1.5m (USD4,610.42) after becoming the first Africans to win FIVB World Grand Prix gold.
Sources informed Capital Sport each player received Sh100, 000 (USD 974.028) for their history making feat where defeated Peru 3-1 to be crowned Group 3 champions in Australia in only their second season at the global circuit.
Speaking on Friday when hosting Malkia Strikers to breakfast at his Karen residence in Nairobi, the Deputy President pledged the Government will support the team fully in training and competition.
“You have achieved a feat that has not been done before in history of volleyball in Kenya and Africa. Your win in Australia has lifted Kenya as a sporting nation. As Government, we want to find sustainable means for sports.
“We should be able to back up sponsors with reliable support to boost the sporting fraternity because they are our greatest ambassadors. I commend the hard work you put in training and discipline that you have shown,” Ruto added.
“We thank the men and women who wake up early to do this. To win is not the day you appear in the finals but it begins way before with good preparation,” the Deputy President noted in hailing the technical bench led by head coach, David Lungaho.
Ruto directed the Ministry of Sports to be proactive in supporting Kenyan sportspersons.
“We will be with you and whatever support you need we will make it available. The ministry responsible is properly charged to make sure the record we have set as a sporting nation continues to scale high levels to exploit full potential.
“I want to ask sponsors to support sport. We ask many to come forward to help our young men and women. The Government is developing elaborate plans to ensure the Sports Rotary is functional,” the Deputy President declared.
Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture Dr. Hassan Wario who was present said the squad made Kenya proud and his ministry will fully support them in upcoming competitions.
Lung’aho told Capital Sport, they have settled the stand-off between the senior team and Kenya Volleyball Federation ( where players had expressed dissented against the national body’s plans to send them to the FIVB World Cup in Japan.
He revealed players agreed to feature at the global showpiece that runs from August 22 to September 6 as opposed to their initially preferred Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville that will now feature the Under-23 side.
“We have agreed with the players and they have accepted to go to World Cup so there is nothing to worry. I’m sure the junior team will perform well in Africa Games. I’m happy the Deputy President has appreciated the team it means a lot.
“Ruto also directed the Ministry of Sports to ensure we don’t struggle accessing Kasarani Gymnasium as it has been before.
“The history that we have set, It has never been done by any African team either men or women. The journey was long. It began in Mexico then Algeria and finally to Canberra and we won all,” the coach stated.
Lung’aho, the Kenya Prisons women’s head coach is the most successful tactician with national the team, after guiding them to their ninth African crown as well as in the 2015 Africa Games qualifiers set for Congo Brazzaville from September 4 and 20.
“The last time I received the State Commendation was three years ago with Kenya Prisons but I will appreciate if one day I get the Moran Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (M.B.S) award,” Lung’aho told.
At this year’s World Grand Prix, the Malkia Strikers only lost twice in eight matches after going down by straight sets in the first-leg against Peru and Colombia.