The Kenya women’s volleyball team could kick off Olympic preparations at least a month late even as the coronavirus still keeps the world guessing whether the Summer Games will take place as planned.
Staging of the Olympic games is still a matter of debate with the host nation Japan a bit reluctant to welcome over 11,000 foreigners amidst the global health pandemic following the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Games were pushed back following the outbreak of the virus early 2020.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the host nation are still weighing options, that include whether fans will be allowed in the stadia while some athletes are understood to be reluctant to take the Covid-19 vaccination.
Kenya who booked the single Africa ticket in the women’s competition are still not sure when they will kick-start their preps as Olympic uncertainty looms over the globe.
“Not yet,” Kenyan head coach Paul Bitok told SPORTS AFRICA when asked whether he has kicked off the programme.
“Maybe until the last week of February,” Bitok added when pressed how soon the team should be expected to start their preps.
According to the initial programme, Bitok had drawn a training plan for six months that would see Kenya play two friendly matches in Turkey and Slovenia and a mandatory two-week boot camp in Japan in June.
But now Malkia Strikers might have less than five months to prepare with the programme almost a month behind schedule.
“We are still waiting for approval from the Olympic office (National Olympic Committee of Kenya – NOCK),” said Bitok.
Last week, the Kenya Volleyball Federation managed to secure an indoor facility at Nyayo National Stadium to host the local league that is expected to serve off in under a fortnight.
This will add more headache to Bitok who will have to come up with a training formula for both the national team players, a majority who will be training outdoors with their respective clubs for league matches and his club, KCB.
There was an ideological tussle between clubs and the federation after the office okayed the league matches to be played outdoors as opposed to the indoors as Kenya battles to align their calendar with that of the FIVB.
In between the season, Bitok’s preps will be intercepted by the Africa Club Championship set for April.
“We should make sure that our league matches are played to conclusion by end of May,” the former Rwandan coach advises.
Kenya is returning to the Olympics for the first time in 17 years.