(Xinhua) -- Anxiety has
gripped Kenya’s athletes ahead of the first batch of
departures to Rabat, Morocco for the African Games.
Fears of being dropped from the team owing to financial
constraints have left some players uncertain of their
participation, even as the country’s volleyball players
depart for Morocco on Tuesday. The African Games will be
held from August 19 to 31.
Kenya will send a contingent of 290 athletes across
22 disciplines, and Team Kenya CEO Charles Nyaberi
revealed that the government is fully sponsoring the
"There are challenges over finance because the
government has not fully released the money.
"But everything else has gone according to plan, as
teams have been in camp for the past two weeks.
"This has been possible through the National Sports
Fund," said Nyaberi on Monday in Nairobi.
Athletics, which is Kenya’s dominant sport, had been
allocated 104 slots, but these have been whittled down
to just 75.
However, general team manager Paul Mutwii said it
will be hard to decide who will be dropped from the
team’s training camp.
"There are 96 athletes in camp, and telling us to cut
it down to their desired number, even if we have not
surpassed the quota, is unacceptable," said Mutwii.
Now Mutwii has cautioned that he may be forced to
pull the team out of the games if their quota is not
"If we are pushed to drop more athletes, then there
is no need to travel.
"We may be forced to withdraw the team from the
African Games altogether," added Mutwii.
However, volleyball team’s coach Paul Bitok is upbeat
his side will retain the African Games title.
The team, which departs on Tuesday, will play one
build-up match with hosts Morocco on Saturday before
games begin on August 19.
"I have trained the team for the last week and the
morale in the squad is very high.
"We will do anything to defend our title in Morocco,"
Kenya team aims to
dominate African Games as team departs for Morocco
by John Kwoba NAIROBI
The Kenyan delegation for the African
Games will depart in batches depending on their
competition schedule to avoid burning out.
Team Kenya chief executive officer Charles Nyaberi
said that the teams have all received their training and
competition kit and will work hard to ruffle the pecking
order at the African Games, which saw Egypt, South
Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Algeria dominate the last
games in Brazzaville, the Republic of the Congo in 2015.
The badminton, judo, shooting, table tennis and beach
volleyball teams were the first batch of the Kenyan
contingent to depart on Tuesday, buoyant about their
chances to widen the medal scope for a country that has
solely relied on athletics for a majority of its medal
In 2015 track and field yielded Kenya’s five of the
six gold medals with women’s volleyball providing the
"Kenya eyes to dominate the table tennis and be a big
country like China. We have to start by winning at the
African Games against Nigeria and Egypt," said Kenya
Table Tennis Association president Andrew Mudibo on
Tuesday in Nairobi.
Kenya has entered a huge contingent of 290 athletes
in at least 21 disciplines. Wrestling, swimming,
Taekwondo, weightlifting, archery, lawn tennis, kayak
and karate will leave on Saturday while athletics team
will be the last to depart on Aug. 23.
Triathlon head coach Harrison Mwangi said Africa Zone
Five champion Hanifa Said, 24, and Abdalla Mansour
Abdallah will anchor the team and hope they will
influence younger players to deliver good performances.
However, he warned that rivals from South Africa and
Egypt have superior players.
"South Africa and Egypt have made it their turf and
we must find a way to exploit their chinks. Kenya can
deliver at the continental stage and win medals," said
However, for volleyball coach Paul Bitok, guiding the
team to retain the title in Rabat, Morocco will be an
Bitok won bronze with the Kenyan team at the
Johannesburg 1999 African Games as a player and now eyes
a medal at the same event as coach almost two decades
down the line.
"I was away in Rwanda and have secured success there.
"But now I am with the Kenya team and we will have to
work hard to deny Cameroon, Nigeria and host Morocco the
gold," said Bitok.
"I have just been with the girls for one week and I
can tell you things won’t be easy in Rabat," Bitok
"The players are in tip-top shape but what I have
been working on is their reception which was their
undoing in Cairo."
Bitok has replaced outgoing Italian tactician Shailen
Kenyan women volleyball team hopes to use the African
Games as a preparatory tournament ahead of the World Cup
in Japan due September before the Africa qualifying
tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games due January
Kenya assures drug
cheats won’t make African Games team
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya has stated that it will only send
clean athletes to the 2019 African Games in Morocco from
August 19 to 31.
At least 60 of the country’s elite runners have been
suspended for using banned performance enhancement
Team manager Dimmy Kisalu said random screenings have
been carried out to prevent any doping allegations,
adding that they are satisfied the team will be clean.
"Let the management of the African Games be assured
we are only entering clean athletes.
"The screening of athletes started a week ago when
the team reported to camp and is expected to be
completed before the team jets out on August 23," said
Kisalu on Monday in Nairobi.
At the last African Games in Brazzaville in 2015,
Kenya entered 364 athletes in 18 sports.
This year, the country is sending 290 athletes across
The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) will conduct
three tests in camp to root out any athletes testing
Kenya is currently listed by the World Anti-Doping
Agency (WADA) under category ‘A’, meaning athletes are
likely to dope.
However, Kisalu said Kenya is keen to enter a
drug-free team to the African Games.
"Kenya has given its commitment to sending a clean
team in each and every category to the games.
"We are currently in Category ‘A’ and the rules
dictate that we subject athletes to three
out-of-competition tests, which will be done before the
team leaves on August 23.
"It began last week as the ADAK conducted random
tests and shall continue until we ensure we have a
drug-free squad," he said.