NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – The Africa Women’s Volleyball Olympic qualifiers will be held in Cameroon next year after the Confederation of Africa Volleyball (CAVB) awarded the hosting rights to the Central Africa nation who beat Kenya in a fierce hosting battle.
Both Kenya and Cameroon had expressed interest to host, but ultimately, it was the latter who won the bid after tabling a Sh8.5mn bid to the CAVB headquarters in Cairo.
The minimum amount required to place a hosting bid is Sh5mn (50,000USD).
“I suspect they had prior knowledge of our bid and every time placed a higher bid till they beat us to the last minute. We had placed a last bid of 81,000 USD (Sh8.1mn) a few minutes to the deadline but then we got a mail from CAVB stating that Cameroon had placed a higher bid,” Kioni explained.
The right to host the Continental qualifier will now hand the side a massive home ground advantage as they seek a return to the Olympics.
Cameroon beat Kenya in the semi-finals of the Continental qualifiers prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics and went on to win the tournament and mark their maiden sojourn to the sporting festival.
“We know now that it will be tougher for us than if we had won that bid to host, but we will fight on. Imagine if it was in Kasarani with the full gymnasium supporting you, then it would have been easy.”
“Now they have that advantage. We have a very strong team now with a strong technical bench and we will work hard to see that we get that ticket,” Kioni noted.
The Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) boss will be Team Kenya’s Chief de Mission for the Tokyo Games next year and says it will make him proud if his own team is among the country’s contingent travelling to Japan.
“I really hope that we will make it. We will sit down with the government and the technical bench and then map out a good plan that will see us qualify,” Kioni noted.
Meanwhile, skipper Mercy Moim has urged the Federation to work with clubs to see to it that the national team retains the momentum they have picked up since the African Games in Morocco.
The team has been together for the last month and after their return, they retreat to their clubs to focus on the national league play-offs scheduled for next month.
“It will be good if we had even two or three days every week to train as a team because we have picked very good momentum from Morocco till now. We have that hunger as a team to go to the Olympics and we have a very good chance,” Moim noted.
Kenya’s last appearance at the Olympic Games was in 2004 in Athens Greece.