Kenya Para-Volleyball Federation is set to later this month assemble the country’s national team for the 2023 African Games to be staged in Accra, Ghana from September 3 to 12.
Sitting volleyball players, both men and women from 21 counties are set to battle for tickets to represent Kenya at the African Para Games action Ghana.
Yesterday, Kenya Para-Volley Federation, Uasin Gishu chapter said Eldoret was ready to host the national event from May 18 to 20, but amidst calls for adequate funding for preparations.
The country’s Para-Volleyball team said they were also preparing to compete at the 2024 Paralympic Qualifiers scheduled for November in Cairo, Egypt.
The Uasin Gishu Para-Volleyball team has been training at the Eldoret Town Hall after they were selected at the County’s Governor’s Cup which came to a close two weeks ago.
Players for both the men’s and women’s Uasin Gishu sitting volleyball squad said they were hopeful of winning the national trials and securing the biggest number of slots to the national team.
“This time, we started our preparations early because we had the Uasin Gishu Governor’s Cup. We took advantage of the county government’s support to prepare for the national trials,” Uasin Gishu sitting volleyball team captain Luke Cheboi said.
Cheboi continued: “We have young and experienced players in the team, and with good training, we have to play a good match. Nairobi and Siaya teams are strong but we are ready for them. As a captain, I am impressed with the team. They are swift at going for the balls, and that is what is critical for a win.”
The women’s team captain Beatrice Cherop said her side will be on a campaign to book more tickets to Accra, besides lifting the national trophy.
Cherop said she was confident the three months of training would propel her side to decisive wins.
“We will have the home advantage and we hope to capitalise on that. We have had strong support, which was a morale booster,” the women’s captain said.
The Uasin Gishu teams’ coach Joseph Arondo said the Governor’s Cup offered a perfect opportunity for team selection.
Arondo said the team was established in 2010 but lacked sponsorship resulting in poor training and inconsistency in performance at tournaments.
“The team is well-trained this time. This is after the support from Uasin Gishu County,” he said.
Uasin Gishu Kenya Para-Volleyball Federation chairman Joseph Ochieng asked Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba to support the national team, saying it had the potential of competing at the 2024 Paralympics.
“All players were good, making it hard to select the county team. If the Uasin Gishu teams play with the same attitude and remain in good form, a big number of the players may join the national team,” Ochieng said.
Uasin Gishu sports executive Lucy Ngendo said the County will continue supporting the teams and asked the players to represent Eldoret well during the national games.
“We welcome all the Para-Volleyball teams to Eldoret. We discovered we had good Para-Volley players and we gave them our best. We ensured they had monetary support, transport, nets and uniforms among other requirements. We can only wish them well as they prepare to bring the trophy home,” Ngendo said.