Following a lengthy struggle and grappling with uncertainty over funds, the Kenya national Roll Ball men’s and women’s teams will finally travel to the fourth edition of the World Cup to be held between February 17-23 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
This follows a successful meeting between the Federation officials and the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts.
Members of the team met representatives and officials from the ministry on Tuesday at their offices in Nairobi and deliberated the way forward where it was agreed that the ministry would cater for the cost of 10 players and two officials totaling up to about four million Kenya Shillings.
The International Roll Ball Federation had earlier pledged to chip in and foot the bill for 14 players (seven each from men and women’s teams). Allowances however, were not factored in the pledge by IRBF.
Prior to their departure for Bangladesh which was set for Wednesday mid-morning, the team had been training at a makeshift area near Kasarani Stadium’s Gate 4 from January 9.
They were forced to prepare their own meals due to lack of funds to secure hostel services available at the stadium in was a common scenario of neglect of national teams by the government.
However, the teams’ handlers are optimistic that they will do well once again.
“It was clear that we were in a difficult situation during our preparations. In fact we were not sure if we would even travel until the last few days when the ministry decided to take action. Despite the setbacks, I have urged my players to soldier on and I am confident that we will perform well after setting high standards previously,” national women’s head coach Jacob Nyaudo said on Wednesday.
Nyaudo’s team is the defending champions after upstaging the then hosts India 2-1 in 2015 and will join about 40 other countries and 700 players in the competition. The men’s team finished a respectable fourth in the same competition.
Both Kenyan teams are African champions and team manager Musa Kaguli knows his teams have a target on their backs.
“We will be one of the favourites for the title after the performing well in the last edition. Teams that we face will be more cautious so we want to show them that we are still a top side. The ministry stepped up from its end so we are aiming to do our best and bring the trophies home,” Kaguli remarked.