Voice of Sport

Volleyball looking forward to countrywide indoor facilities at proposed stadium projects

The KVF Chairman, Waithaka Kioni says th The KVF Chairman, Waithaka Kioni says the windfall of good management of the federation is the increasing sponsorship from corporates. Kenya Pipeline Company have now taken up naming rights of the 10-leg national league circuit


VOLLEYBALL, especially in the women’s category, is traditionally a very popular in Kenya and lately its attracting of sponsors bodes well for the sport that the country plays on the Olympic Games and World Championship stage.

A sponsored national league is about to kick off. It will be an improved 10-round circuit that has been in place for over a dozen years. Freshly revamped and to be known as the Kenya Pipeline Company National League [KPC-NL], Kenya Volleyball Federation intend a vast improvement on organisation through the funding of Kenya Pipeline Company [KPC].

Boost

“It’s a boost to our efforts at improving standards of the sport, competition and organisation,” said KVF Chairman Waithaka Kioni.

But challenges still exist because, ultimately, KVF would like to hold the league at venues that are conducive for high level competition and attractive to spectators.

“We have support all over the country. We would like fans to travel to all league and tournament venues and enjoy themselves as well tour their country. But, volleyball is really an indoor sport and in Kenya we do not have indoor facilities. We have to make with outdoor field courts of all manner of physical and climatic challenges. Still, thousands of people follow the game in those conditions.”

Projects

What Kioni would like to see is the national Government putting up multi-purpose auditoriums — at earmarked national stadium complex projects – where, among other indoor sports, volleyball can be played.

“Practical gymnasiums that can hold even small crowds of just 1,000 people,” he says, that will be adequate if they are spread in all the five venues that the Government is planning to put up sports complexes.

Safaricom Arena

“We shall engage the Government and those in charge of the Stadia projects so that they can think about us [volleyball]. If five were put up, that will cover half of the 10-leg circuit that currently form our National Volleyball League. For international competition, we are Ok, we have no problem. We have the Safaricom Arena at the Moi International Sports Centre that accommodates 5,000.”

Kioni feels his organisation is ambitious and will reach its lofty goals. “We finally have the breakthrough; sponsors have recognised our abilities and what they can gain from partnership with us.

Malkia Strikers

“Now we have some very welcome money from National Oil Company [NOC] of Kenya that have taken up the naming rights of our successful national women’s team [Malkia Strikers], and the league will now be named the Kenya Pipeline Company National League.”

The leadership of KVF are currently enjoying an enviable stamp of approval since recently being voted as the most efficiently-run sports organisation in Kenya at the annual Sportsman of the Year Awards [SOYA].

Prudent management

“We intend to maintain this and hold on to the confidence of sponsors, Government and Wananchi in general. We are humbled by the opinion they have of us and shall strife to run better and better volleyball operations. We shall seek to make all our national teams for men and women at all age-groups successful internationally.”

The KPC National League volleys of in Nakuru during the Kenya Pipeline Cup tournament on February 27 to March 1. There will be nine league rounds culminating with the national play-offs and finals at the Kenya Ports Authority [KPA] Makande Gymnasium in Mombasa on November 27-29.

Huge following

“The circuit is highly very popular and many more regions would have loved to host a round but we cannot accommodate everyone,” said Kioni.

“Homa Bay was an unusual destination last season and we are sorry they will miss out. Volleyball has also a huge following in Nyeri who are not involved this time. In future, we shall conduct early bids for hosting. The counties should also start early preparations and seek healthy financial funding so that we can all together continue improving.”

Qualifiers

The KVF calendar is out and is also packed with intermittent international events.

“Our beach volleyball players are currently preparing for selection at a tournament in Mombasa, so that we can pick teams for the 2016 Olympic Games beach volleyball qualifiers for the Africa Sub-zone 5 in Tanzania on February 14-18.”

Cairo

The successful Kenya national women’s volleyball team, the NOC-sponsored Malkia Strikers, will play their first international tournament this year on April 15 – May 14 at the Africa Cup of Nations Championship.

“We are looking forward to one of our busiest years,” said Kioni. “We are just about to send the Under-20 women’s team to the African Championship in Cairo, Egypt on February 24 to March 2. This is one of our age-group teams without a sponsor and we are reaching out for any assistance.”

2015 Kenya Pipeline Company National League [KPC-NL]:

1st leg, February 27 – March 1: KPC–NL (Kenya Pipeline Volleyball Cup) – Nakuru

2nd leg, March 27-29: KPC–NL (Arthur Odera Cup) – Malaba Primary School, Busia

3rd leg, April 24-26: KPC–NL (Mutai Enterprises Cup) – Kericho Teachers College

4th leg, May 29-31: KPC–NL (Kisumu Open) – Kenyatta Stadium, Kisumu

5th leg, June 26-28: KPC–NL (AMACO International Open) – Eldoret Polytechnic

6th leg, July 24-26: KPC–NL (Baringo County Open) – Eldama Ravine, Baringo

7th leg, August 21-23: KPC–NL (Bungoma Open) – Bungoma High School

8th leg, October 2-4: KPC–NL (Nandi County Open) – Nandi

9th leg, Oct 30- Nov 1: KPC–NL (Kiambu County Open) – Kiambu Stadium

10th leg, Nov 27-29: KPC–NL (FINALE: Play-offs)KPA Makande Gym, Mombasa

– Additional reporting by Kenya Volleyball Federation