WANJA'S PAINFUL EXIT: Celebrated Malkia Strikers' setter Janet calls it a day

Kenya Pipeline's Janet Wanja reacts after losing to Egypt's Al Ahly in the Africa Women's Club Volleyball Championships finals in Cairo on Sunday. [PHOTO:CAVB]

It is over. It was coming. This was bound to happen; the question was when.

Well, the guessing time is over. Kenya’s most decorated and Kenya Pipeline setter Janet Wanja has had enough of international volleyball, and retired on Tuesday.

Wanja, 33, ended her illustrious 14-year national team career after Pipeline’s fifth-place finish at the recently concluded African Women’s Volleyball Club championship in Tunisia.

Wanja debuted in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Greece and was the remaining player in the current Kenyan side from those Summer games.

Apart from several individual accolades, Wanja has won five Africa Nations Championships, two All African Games titles and the first ever World Grand Prix (Group 3) title in 2015 with Malkia Strikers.

No going back

“For me, my time with the national team is over. It is now time to concentrate on my club career and allow young players to come through. It is has been an incredibly difficult decision, but I think it is good for everyone. There is no going back even if I get a call-up,” Wanja told The Standard Sports moments after arriving from Tunisia.

“I have been criticised several times and asked to leave the stage for younger players. As much as we want young players, most of them are not working hard to prove themselves. Just because I started playing volleyball early doesn’t mean I am old. We have proved that age is just but a number. I am still strong, but will now focus on Pipeline where they still need my services. Save for the national team hustles and axing sideshows, it has been an awesome journey.

“Personally, being in the national team has not helped me financially. I have not gained anything financially; it was just for the love of the game. We never used to get allowances during my earlier times with the national team. That explains why the current generation is in a comfort zone.”

dropped twice

But the Mukumu Girls alumnus, who joined the national team in 2004 after sitting her Form Four examinations, was quick to slam the Kenya Volleyball Federation for treating them unprofessionally.

“Having been unceremoniously dropped twice together with my captain Braxcides Agala prior to international competitions, I think this is the right time to call it a day. KVF got all the recognition because we used to play our hearts out. So, they should at least appreciate the efforts of the old players and not to overlook their contributions,” said Wanja.

As Wanja plans to enroll for refereeing courses, she is worried about the future of the women’s team after it withdrew from the upcoming FIVB World Grand Prix due to an estimated Sh8 million outstanding debt.

“I am not ruling out on a coaching career, but for now, I want to be a referee,” she said.

“It is unfortunate the team has pulled out of the Grand Prix. I understand the federation doesn’t have money, but that is one of the best tournaments to expose our players.”

Next Story
US-based Saruni dropped from 800m team for World Championships

Two-time Olympic and world 800m champion David Rudisha and 2016 IAAF Diamond League winner Ferguson Rotich have been picked in the 800m squad to the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships in London on August 4-12.

MYSA team off to Norway

The Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) Under-14 boys' team left for Norway yesterday morning to take part in the annual Norway Cup tournament.

Tough to take but good lesson –Oburu

AFC Leopards striker Vincent Oburu says the difference in class between their Kenyan All Star team and Cordoba CF is a tough lesson, but a good challenge for everyone back in Kenya.

Omoto learns more with friendlies

Patilah Omoto admits the level of football in Spain is way up there, but insists the attitude of his team-mates is positive and willing to learn.

Why PSG require a Neymar

Paris Saint Germain need to sign a player of the calibre of Neymar or Kylian Mwbappe in their quest to win the Champions League, according to their coach Unai Emery.

Mourinho ready to sacrifice one transfer target over costs

Jose Mourinho has warned that Manchester United will not pay over the odds for new players and is prepared to sacrifice one of his transfer targets this summer.

More Stories
Wanja named in Malkia Strikers squad after rescinding retirement decision

Celebrated Kenya Pipeline setter Janet Wanja has been included in the provisional 24-member Kenya Women's national team, Malkia Strikers, for the upcoming Zone 5 World Cup qualifiers after reversing her decision to retire from international volleyball.

Volleyball: Epoloto re-appointed as national men’s team coach

Former General Service Unit coach Moses Epoloto has been reappointed as the national men’s volleyball team head coach, The Standard Sports can reveal.

Transition: Referees instructor Salamba passes on

The Kenyan volleyball fraternity is mourning following the death of legendary referee instructor and administrator Miendo Alfonse Maclean Salamba.

Schools volleyball: Malava and Kwanthanze on course to recapture titles

Former national boys and girls volleyball champions Malava and Kwanthanze are a match away from recapturing their titles.

Kwanthanze to keep guard in Nyeri

Former national and East Africa Secondary schools girls’ volleyball champions Kwanthanze are praying for a return to the regional scene.