National beach volleyball team coach Sammy Mulinge has appealed to local clubs to release players ahead of next month’s second round Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.
The women’s competition is scheduled for March 4 to 8 at the Jabi Lake Beach, in Abuja, Nigeria while the men’s event is set for March 12 to 16 in Banjul, Gambia.
The women’s team qualified for the second round after finishing second behind eventual winners Rwanda during the first round of qualifiers held in Tanzania last month while the men’s team proceeded after settling for second place behind winners Tanzania last year in the event that was held in Uganda.
Mulinge said the provisional squads of six players from both genders are yet to report to training despite reaching out to their clubs.
The women’s team has Gaudencia Makokha, Betty Sifuna (Kenya Pipeline), Brackcides Agala, Yvonne Wavinya (Kenya Prisons), Phosca Kasisi and Mildred Cherop (Kenya Commercial Bank).
Sifuna and Cherop will be making a debut after Loise Jepkosgei and Metrine Nabwire, who were part of the provisional squad for the first round, were axed.
Experienced Ibrahim Odour (Kenya Prisons), Enock Mogeni and Wilfred Kimutai (Strathmore University), Naftali Chumba, Brian Melly and Cornelius Kiplagat (General Service Unit), Evans Bera (Oman) and James Mwaniki from Kenya Ports Authority form the men’s team. This will be Chumba’s first call up replacing Donald Mchete of Mombasa Prisons.
“We are aware the league matches resume next Friday and we have the African Clubs Championships in April in Egypt. Clubs want players to train for the two events but we also have this national assignment which is a qualifier for the third round which is the last phase. We therefore need these players to start training as soon as possible,” said Mulinge.
“We are way behind schedule. We had hoped to start training last Monday but the players have not reported until now. We really want to be among the two nations that will proceed to the final round,” he added.
Kenya are drawn alongside hosts Gambia, Mauritius, Botswana and South Sudan in the men’s event while their female counterparts will take on Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and home team Nigeria.
The top two teams in each group will qualify for the third and final phase.