NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Serving his final term as the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) president, Waithaka Kioni says it will be his dream to see the team qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.
Malkia came close to qualification last time out but fell in the African qualifiers losing to eventual champions Cameroon and were neither lucky in the intercontinental qualifiers that followed.
The last time the girls played in the Olympics was in 2008 and 11 years on, Kioni harbors the dream of seeing the team play at the prestigious championship in Tokyo.
“We are really hoping to tame Cameroon this time and qualify for the Olympics. I am serving my last term as KVF president and getting the team to qualify for the Olympics is one of my dreams before I leave and I hope we can do it,” Kioni told Capital Sport.
Kenya starts the qualification process with the Intercontinental qualifiers in Italy from August 2 where the team has been thrown into a tough pool with European heavyweights Netherlands Italy and Belgium.
Only two African countries, Kenya and Cameroon qualified for this competition based on ranking. The top six teams will earn direct tickets from Rio.
This competition is seen as the tougher route for Malkia and most view it as an opportunity to prepare by playing against the toughest teams ahead of September’s African Women Championship where the top team will earn a ticket to play in the quadrennial competition next tear.
“This will be a tough pool for the intercontinental championship but I am hoping we can fight to compete. We want to prepare very well,”
The team is scheduled to start training in April and Kioni has disclosed that the Federation has managed to get an Italian coach to help the team prepare, seconded to them by the International Volleyball federation (FIVB).
“We asked the FIVB for some technical support and they have seconded to us a coach Shaileen Ramdoo who has some good experience coaching some top teams in Europe. He is very keen to come here in Kenya and we hope to benefit from his skills,” Kioni noted.
Meanwhile, the KVF boss has asked the government to offer the team support as it prepares for the important tournaments, only ruing the lack of opportunity for the team to have an overseas camp and prepare.