KCB win should be a turning point for our volleyball

KCB volleyball players celebrate after winning the Africa Clubs Championships held in Tunisia on May 31. [Courtesy]

There was palpable excitement and renewed hope after KCB Bank Women's Volleyball team conquered Africa in Tunisia on Tuesday. No Kenyan volleyball club had clinched the Africa Club title since 2013. The Kenyan golden girls thrashed Egypt's Al Ahly to recapture the crown.

Kenya Pipeline finished third while Kenya Prisons wound up fifth. Kenya Pipeline won bronze after beating Carthage Club of Tunisia 3-2 in third place playoffs as Kenya Prisons, who won the Kenya's last title in 2013, emerged fifth.

Sharon Chepchumba won the Most Valuable Player while Edith Wisa was awarded the best blocker. Mercy Moim won the left attacker of the tournament. Kudos!

The bankers ended their 16-year wait for the continental crown. KCB Bank's win as well as Kenya Pipeline and Kenya Prisons impressive shows at the Africa Club Championships offer a river of hope to a steady improvement of our women's performance in the sport.

But Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) seems to have neglected our men volleyball teams. They appear like children of a lesser god.

Not once. Not twice. Our national men’s volleyball team has accused KVF of neglecting and mistreating them ahead of major international outings.

While women's national team, Malkia Strikers, are toasting in a rare fry of success, the men's team has been kept struggling.

KVF has more often than not, come under sharp criticism for ‘looking down’ at the boy child (men’s team) even as they feed the favourite kid with a big spoon, as far as international competition is concerned.

More often, the men’s team has been forced to forfeit major championships due to what the federation terms ‘lack of funds.’ This is besides having no clearly defined age group structure for the men’s version of the game, unlike their female counterpart with thriving U18, U20 and U23 teams in place.

Few years back, KVF took the junior Under-18 team to Egypt for a continental showpiece. The national U23-team was on the plane for FIVB World Champions in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

We know most players turning up for top men's clubs have not been offered employment while their women counterparts have landed decent jobs. It is prudent that they look at their qualifications and offer them job opportunities as a way of promoting sports talents.

In April, Kenya Prisons promoted some of their technical bench and players. Head Coach David Lung’aho was promoted to the rank of the Chief Inspector while coaches Josp Barasa, Gideon Chenje, Paul Muthinja, Alex Mwendia and Benadette Yotongole were also promoted to the rank of Inspector of Prisons. This trend should continue to motivate and nurture more talents.