Malkia Strikers cry for help as they prepare for global event

Malkia Strikers libero Agrippina Kundu receives the ball during their Olympic group match against South Korea on Wednesday in Tokyo. [FIVB]

Nobody has felt it harder than Malkia Strikers coach Paul Bitok after the government failed to come to the aid of the team currently in Brazil.

The team is preparing for the World Championships scheduled for September 23 to October 15 in Netherlands and Poland.

"We are struggling financially in Brazil because the government has failed to come to the aid of the team," Bitok said.

"My request to the Ministry of Sports is that they pay the allowances and other pending bills to enable the team focus on training so as to get the best performance in the forthcoming World Championships," the coach said.

In April, Kenya Volleyball Federation forwarded a budget of Sh 46 million to the ministry of sports to facilitate their logistics that included air tickets, players' allowances among other facilitation but the government remained non-committal.

On June 21, the Ministry of Sports through the State Department of Sports issued a memo to all federations saying that the government was not in a position to sponsor teams for international events.

"It is therefore to inform all federations expecting funding from the government that it will not be possible to be funded due to budgetary constraints and instead the federations should seek for sponsorship from other organisations," said the memo from the Sports Ministry Principal Secretary Joe Okundo and signed by Joel Atuti on behalf of the Director Sports.

In order to save Kenya from suspension from International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) incase they failed to participate in the World Championships, a local gaming company, MozzartBet came to the rescue of the team by giving a Sh10 million sponsorship that enabled the team to travel to Brazil for the high attitude training program.

However, despite the financial hiccups at the team's training camp, Bitok said the team is going on with the training.

"We have so far played 10 competitive matches where we managed to win three. We still have two more friendly matches before the team embarks on the next program," Bitok said.

Bitok said the team will not travel back to Kenya as it was expected after the training Brazil training due to delays emanating from endorsement of the Netherland's Visa which, were received on Thursday.

"We couldn't travel back to Kenya as planned since the circumstances gave us no choice and we had to adjust with the new program," Bitok said.

The team is set to fly to Belgrade, Serbia next Wednesday for two friendly matches and later fly to Netherlands on September 20 ready for action from September 23.

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