Five-time continental volleyball champions Kenya Prisons' hopes of reclaiming the African Women's Volleyball Club Championship starting in Cairo, Egypt, today have been quashed.
Prisons withdrew from the competition yesterday, citing financial constraints. The competition, which will see the winner earn the continental ticket to a pre-qualifier against South America for the World Club Championships in Switzerland, will end on April 6.
Team Manager David Kilundo confirmed to Feverpitch yesterday that Prisons would not travel because they had been unable to secure funding from the Government.
"We are on our way to the residential camp to talk to the players about the issue. However, we will not release the players from the camp because we have the national league second leg matches in Malaba on Friday and then the tournament over the weekend," said Kilundo.
This is the first time the club is missing out on the continental showpiece since 2008, when they made their debut and went on to win the title the same year.
"It is a big loss for the club because we had young players on the squad who had the potential to excel and get some good exposure through the championship," added the manager.
Prisons, who finished as runners-up in the last edition behind Algerian side GSP in Tunisia, leave a heavy weight on Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) champions Kenya Pipeline who now shoulder the country's dreams of reclaiming the crown. The other local team in the competition is Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).
Pipeline head coach Japhet Munala, however, is optimistic his squad will weather the storm, especially from North African clubs, to reign in Cairo.
"It is unfortunate that Prisons will not make it to Egypt. It would have been easy for us to battle for the continental title together but we have prepared well and are ready to face any opponent," said the tactician.
The domestic champions have continued to excel in the last two years, with their efforts paying off last season when they clinched the league title from their arch rivals.
Pipeline and KCB left the country for Cairo yesterday evening.