Egyptian and Tunisian volleyball teams will not be taking part in the Africa Women Club Championships, which starts in Nairobi on Wednesday.
However, their absence will not water down the level of competition with 21 teams having confirmed participation in the one-week tournament, where the winner will clinch the ticket to the World Club Championships, which will be held in Doha, Qatar in October.
Three Egyptian and Tunisian teams – Al Ahly, Zamalek and Tunis clubs – had put in an early request to compete, but withdrew leaving the organizers to prepare for the tournament that will see the best 21 clubs from the continent lock horns for the bragging rights and a berth to the World Club Championships.
Waithaka Kioni, Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) Chairman, said on Monday they have put in all arrangements for the tournament. The previous event also played in Nairobi last year attracted 16 teams.
The teams will be arriving in Nairobi from Tuesday.
Kioni said the main venue of the tournament will be Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani, which has been given a new lease of life after Chinese company Shengli Construction Company completed renovation work estimated at a cost of 120 million U.S. dollars.
“KVF are gearing towards hosting one of the biggest competitions in women’s volleyball. It will cost us over 240,000 U.S. dollars to stage this competition and I hope it will be a success,”
International volleyball competitions have always attracted big crowds to Nairobi and the local federation hopes that the trend continues in order to give moral support to the three Kenyan teams in the competition, defending champions Kenya Prisons, National league winners Kenya Pipeline and Kenya Commercial Bank.
Kenya Pipeline hope to claim elusive African title and qualify for world event. Team manager Kasuja Onyonyi said most of his players have shaken off injury fears and they are ready for the battle.