KVF under fire over decision to reject empowerment programme that has benefited Malkia Strikers

© Malkia Strikers

VOLLEYBALL KVF under fire over decision to reject empowerment programme that has benefited Malkia Strikers

Joel Omotto 05:30 - 06.03.2024

Kenya Volleyball Federation has been criticised for choosing to reject a programme that has improved Malkia Strikers at the expense of personal gain ahead of Paris Olympics.

Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) is in the eye of a storm following its decision to reject an empowerment programme that has been beneficial to the Malkia Strikers.

World volleyball governing body FIVB has been running the programme since 2021 when they seconded six Brazilian coaches to offer technical support to the national women's team ahead of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

They included head coach Luizomar de Moura, assistant Jefferson Arosti, Thiago Moreira (physiotherapist), Marcelo de Souza (strength and conditioning), Leonardo Barobosa (statistician), and team manager Beto Opice alongside Kenyan coaches Paul Bitok, Japheth Munala and Josp Barasa, who worked together to tune the Malkia Strikers ahead of the Games.

FIVB would extend the programme in 2022 when the experts were in charge of the team at the World Championships held in the Netherlands as Kenya beat Cameroon to become the top-ranked nation in Africa.

That came after the team had camped in Brazil for three months, courtesy of the agreement before they pitched tent in Morocco for a month ahead of the 2023 Challenger Cup held in France.

Those camps gave the national team much-needed exposure and they would head to the African Championships in confident mood before they won the continental title to guarantee their place at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

However, as the players looked forward to more support from the experts ahead of the Paris Games, it seems they will not be getting it after KVF opted against extending the partnership over a little disagreement.

The bone of contention is that KVF want to have three Kenyans in the technical team to Paris, a similar number to the Brazilians, but FIVB is keen to retain the formula used in Tokyo when the experts were three with one local on the bench.

Kenya want to have two assistant coaches and a team manager on the team to Paris but FIVB is reluctant to dance to their tune, offering to incorporate two young local coaches who can learn from the Brazilians, besides taking care of Malkia Striker’s logistics to the African Games.

KVF has, however, turned down that proposal and vowed to let go of the programme if their demands are not met which could see the national team miss out on an opportunity to camp in Europe and continue learning from the experts ahead of the Paris Olympics.

“I am really disappointed and frustrated that we want to have this programme go down the drain because of selfishness.

"I am aware the players who are the beneficiaries want the continuity of this programme and I hope that the federation will have that in mind to reach a favourbale Memorandum of Understanding with FIVB,” National Olympics Committee of Kenya boss Paul Tergat told Nation.

KVF has insisted they would rather go with local coaches if their demands are not agreed to in a decision that might prove costly given FIVB was exploring the possibility of roping the national men’s team, Wafalme, into the programme.

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