Coronavirus or lack of support? Team fails to travel for qualifiers

The national women’s beach volleyball team will not participate in the second round of the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers, after failing to get clearance from the Government amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Sammy Mulinge coached side was scheduled to leave for Nigeria on Wednesday but Citizen Digital has confirmed the team is still in Nairobi.

The qualifiers were set to serve off on Thursday at Jabi Lake Beach in Abuja.

Unconfirmed reports indicate the ministry failed to clear the team owing to the new type of covid-19 menace, which has plunged the global sporting calendar into disarray.

The coronavirus threat has also cast a shadow over preparations for the Summer Games.

When reached for comment, Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) president Waithaka Kioni who is also the Team Kenya Chef de mission, was coy to reveal the reason behind the team’s failure to travel to the west African country.

“I don’t know whether it’s because of lack of support from the government or the coronavirus issue, because other teams which are featuring in the Games’ qualifiers were allowed to travel. We however understand Nigeria has reported their first case of the virus,” the volleyball chief told.

According to Kioni, other two participating teams DRC Congo and Cape Verde also failed to travel, throwing the qualifiers into the confusion with only hosts and Zambia are available.

The uncertainty comes barely a week after the ministry announced strict measures in financing sports federations and sports teams, participating in international championships.

In a statement, the sports organisations and other stakeholders preparing teams travelling out of the country were advised to consult the Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Health and host countries regarding health situations prior to making travel arrangements.

Last week, Nigeria became the first sub-Saharan country in Africa to confirm the deadly coronavirus case with Algeria and Egypt also confirming cases of the disease in the continent.

Kenya were scheduled to face Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and hosts Nigeria for the two slots to the final round of qualification.

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