Malkia withdraw from World Olympics qualifiers

Malkia withdraw from World Olympics qualifiers

The national women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, have officially pulled out of the World Olympics Qualifiers in Puerto Rico for lack of funds snuffing out their faint hopes of returning to the Summer Games for the first time since Athens 2004.

Speaking to Citizen this afternoon, Kenya Volleyball Federation chairman, Waithaka Kioni, confirmed the team will not travel to the tournament where the winning team will qualify for Rio since they could not raise the Ksh10m needed to fund the trip.

Kioni said they had notified world FIVB their decision to withdraw to prevent incurring heavy fines for not showing.

“Let us be realistic, going to Cameroon was itself a challenge, a big challenge. This event will be in Puerto Rico, air tickets alone will be Ksh3.5m to Ksh4m, the teams upkeep there and allowance there. It will need about Ksh10m which I’m not sure it is available anywhere.

“It feels very bad but you saw in the media just as we came back from Cameroon the statements attributed to one NOCK officials saying KVF ‘you are on your own’. What does that tell you? This is an Olympics event, the fact that biased officiating cost us a slot in Cameroon, this is still the best team, so how does that make us feel? The players are with their clubs preparing for the club championships in April and then from there, we shall see,” Kioni told Citizen on phone.

Yes, we are not going, that I can assure you. NOCK said they could not give us any more money and we cannot depend on the Government since they did not fund us for Cameroon. There is no need to be punished any more,” the KVF boss stated as he left for a meeting.

Egypt and Kenya were to be the two teams from Africa scheduled for the tournament.

Malkia missed the continental direct ticket to Rio after losing to Egypt in the semifinals of the Africa Olympics qualifiers in Cameroon.

The nine-time record champions kept slim Olympics qualification hopes alive after outclassing North African rivals Algeria 3-0 in the third place play-offs night in Yaounde, Cameroon to advance to the World Olympics Qualifiers.

Kenya who lost their semifinal to Egypt 3-2 (25-22, 24-26, 16-15, 25-20, 19-17) night to miss out on automatic qualification as winners of the continental showdown raced to a 2-0 sets lead of 25-19 and 25-21.

The North Africans pushed the third set to a tie break before the African Champions prevailed 26-24 in a keenly contested set.

Report by Phillip Muchiri