Lausanne, Switzerland, December 26, 2016 – Kenya has never had a professional beach volleyball player, prompting the Kenya Volleyball Federation to encourage schoolchildren to take up the sport as part of the federation’s strategy to professionalise the game, The Star newspaper has reported.
KVF Secretary General Ben Juma, who is also the Beach Volleyball Commission chairman, told The Star that the move will streamline the Olympic discipline in Kenya and help it to reach international standards.
“We want players to gain experience from an early age and grow in the game from one age group to the next till they graduate to senior levels,” Juma said.
Former volleyball player and respected coach Catherine Mabwi, and beach volleyball tutor Patrick Owino have reportedly been scouting for potential players at school games.
Juma said the first national circuit will start next month in Mombasa, where there will be both under-18 and under-21 groups alongside the senior men and women categories. The tournament will be used to select pairs to represent Kenya in Sub-Zone 5 matches in February. The tourney will feature teams from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.
“Kenya has good players,” Juma said. “We are still a powerhouse in African beach volleyball and especially in women’s. We only need to be more vibrant to firmly hold onto pole position in Africa, and later the world.”
Kenya Pipeline’s pair of Gaudencia Makokha and Naomi Too are rated in Africa’s Top 4.
Juma said Kenya would have been represented in the Rio Olympics but the players failed to take part in the final qualifiers in Tunisia due to financial issues.
“Our teams had high chances of qualifying but unfortunately we could not raise enough money to send them to Tunisia,” Juma stated.