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I am a volleyball prisoner: David Lung'aho


Who is David Lung’aho?

I am the second born in a family of ten; I was born in Kakamega, but raised in Nakuru. My parents were sporty; my mum played netball and my dad not only played volleyball, but he was also a coach. I was particularly close to my father and he passed his love for volleyball to me. Ironically though, I am the only one in sports in the family, none of my other siblings took it up.


Give us a brief history of your career in volleyball?

I am a volleyball player too; I played for the Railways Club from 1987 to 1994. I got the first call to play for the national team in 1989, and was later the national team captain in 1995 to 1997.I left Railways in 1994 to join KCB who also offered me employment. I, however, left in 1999 to pursue coaching instead. My first role as a coach was in 2000 when I joined the KCB women team; I stayed there for three years. I moved to Kenya Pipeline at the end of 2003 and in 2007, I joined the Prisons team where I am still the coach.


As a volleyball coach both at club and national level, you have won critical titles that many only dream about, what is your secret?

There is no secret, just hard work and dedication. I also plan and put in a lot of effort in what I do. I put a lot of emphasis on team discipline, and I am a strong believer in nurturing young talent. When I joined the team, the oldest player was 40 unlike now when the oldest is 29. I got a lot of resistance at first, but I am very determined; I have players as young as 19.


What are some of the awards you have won as a club coach?

At KCB we won the East and Central African Club Championship from 2000-2003, when I moved to Kenya Pipeline’s Volleyball women’s team, we won two continental titles — African Championships both in Senegal (2004) and in Nairobi (2005). We also came in third in the African Championship held in Mauritius (2006).  I moved to Nairobi Women’s Prison teams in 2007 and in 2008, I took the ladies to Egypt and we came in second. We also won the African Championship held in Mauritius (2010), Nairobi (2011), Nairobi (2012) and Madagascar (2013). We were also number one in Africa at the African Championship. At club level, I have won seven continental titles.


You joined the national team in 2004, tell us about that?

Because of my success as a club coach, I was called in as an assistant to the coach as the team prepared for the Olympics in Greece, Athens. In 2005, I became the head coach. We have since won the African Cup of Nations in 2007 and in 2011 and now the latest the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations held recently in Mauritius.


Why did you decide to switch from playing to coaching?

As mentioned earlier, I have passion for volleyball and as age caught up, I realised coaching was a better option, plus I needed to grow.


What steps did you take to help you cross over into coaching?

I had to go back to class. In 1996, I took a course in national coaching. I went back to class again in 1997 and did an International Volleyball Federation course (level 1) and in 2002, I took a similar one but at an advanced level.


Your coaching career has been with women’s team only, why not men?

When I first became a coach, the only coaching position available at KCB was the women’s team, and from then on, I realised women are easy to work with.


Is it difficult training women?

Originally it was a challenge because I had first to analyse each member’s character as well as strengths and weaknesses, which took some time, but they catch pretty fast.


What is your most memorable moment in coaching?

The 2011 Doha Club World Championships — the prisons team almost qualified for the semi-finals; we lost 3-2 to a highly ranked American team. Even though we lost, to me we won since no other African team has ever reached that level.


What are some of the challenges you face as a coach?

Coaches in Kenya do not get sustainable contracts, and the payment is not good either. 


Apart from volleyball, what else do you do?

I am a prisons inspector, and I also own a cyber café back at home.


Who is David when he is not a volleyball coach?

I am a loving husband. I am married to Salome Wanjala, she is a prisons officer and we have been together since 2000.


Is Salome as sporty as you?

Apart from being a lovely mother and wife, she loves volleyball and football. She plays for the prisons team.


You are also a father tell us about your children?

I have three sons and being a father has changed me in many ways. Whatever I do now, I always remember that I have people who look up to me, and that my life is not just about me.


What do you love most about being a family man?

They offer support when I need it and pray for me whenever I have a game.


How do you spend family time?

We all love football, Arsenal and AFC are our teams. We have travelled as far as Nakuru and Mumias to cheer on AFC.


What do you do for fun?

I love doing research on volleyball. When I’m free, you will either find me reading or researching on volleyball online. I talk to coaches all over the world and read extensively on the sport. I am also a poultry farmer, I do this for fun.


 What are your future plans?

To start a talent school where the young generation can discover their talents. We have a lot of sporting potential and we need is to nurture it.

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