Kenya women’s volleyball team is set to kick off a rigorous four-month Olympics preparation on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, a development that might have serious implications on the staging of this year’s Women’s Africa Club Championship.
The Confederation of Africa Volleyball (CAVB) is still trying to find a national federation to host the championship.
The new administration led by Moroccan Hajij Bouchra had hoped that Kenya would host the event after most countries failed to show interest citing exorbitant broadcast fee.
Last month, the continental volleyball mother body announced Egypt (Cairo) as the host for the men’s edition but no mention of the host city for the opposite gender.
There is a growing concern among players, mostly from Kenya who also have an Olympics schedule in July who had hoped that they would use the event to gauge their fitness levels.
The men’s event will serve off on March 31 until April 12 and thereafter the women’s edition is expected to take place.
“We are not even sure if it (event) will take place this year,” said a senior player who has participated in five-club championship with two different Kenyan clubs.
Kenya is returning to the Summer Games for the first time in 16 years.
Expectations are high not only from the local fans but the entire continent considering that they are the only country that will fly Africa’s flag in the women’s event.
Egypt is the other Africa representative in the men’s category.
“There is no motivation because you can’t train as hard for an event you are not so sure will take place. I doubt if the championship be competitive this year because most teams have not been playing competitively and now the uncertainty is just making worse the already bad situation.”
A member of the CAVB Media Commission confirmed to Sports Africa that the event will be staged in Cairo if no other national federation comes forth.
“Madam Bouchra will do everything possible to ensure that the event takes place. Remember she is a former player so she understands the pain that players go through; besides, this is the first major championship since she was elected,” said the source.
But Sports Africa understands that the exorbitant $50,000 broadcast fee that the hosting nation is set to part with is what is hindering the whole process. “The winner of the bid will pay to CAVB a consolidated minimum fee for the exclusive TV live or delayed transmission and court advertisement of $50,000 for each (men and women) competition,” CAVB said in a notice that announced the bidding process in October 2019.
“I don’t see us hosting this event in the near future because we can’t afford to broadcast fee,” Kenya Volleyball Federation president Waithaka Kioni expressed his frustration with the law that came into effect about three years ago.
But with the Malkia Strikers set to hit a bubble camp this week, Kenya, which has just one standard indoor arena, might not host the event.
This leaves CAVB with only Egypt and maybe Tunisia as the most likely countries to stage the championship.