We believe in our chances, Brackcides Khadambi says
Zürich, Switzerland, October 10, 2013 – It’s not always easy to be the underdog. Especially when you are the dominant force in your league and continent. The Kenya Prisons, participants at the 2013 FIVB Women's Club World Championship, are used to this strange gap between local and international business. The five-time African champions have to fight versus their outsider role as they have never reached the semifinals at Club World Champs in the last five years. This situation is often explained by the evolution of African volleyball what is said not to be on the same level as in Asia, Europe or South America. But what can be the difference in Africa's volleyball in comparison to other continents and how do the Kenyans want to catch up?
Brackcides Khadambi, one of the most experienced players in Coach David Lungah’s roster, has participated already four times at FIVB Women’s Club World Championship. The 29-year old player sees a big development in the volleyball of her home continent: “Our play start to assimilate to the ones of China, Europe or Brazil. However, we are lacking height and physical abilities compared to the other teams.” Nevertheless, the duels against big opponents of other continents are a great opportunity for their evolution, explains the Kenyan national player: “We can learn a lot from them. Our motivation is to improve ourselves and to get on the same level as they are.”
Lack of experience
Volleyball is a young and still fast growing sport. Nobody would deny this fact. The Asian, European and South American teams have changed from amateur to professionalism sport and have brought the quality of the game to a very high level in the last decades. The African teams haven’t managed to take this big step forward as Khadambi makes clear: “Every player in our team is still an amateur player. This is a big difference between our team and the other continental champions. We haven’t that capital at our disposal. The lack of experience is a big challenge for our team as our opponents know how to react in difficult situations. That’s the reason why the international competitions are very important for us.”
Other qualities should bring changes
However, the African champions doesn’t have to hide themselves, not even after their undisputed 0:3 loss against the strong Chinese team of Guangdong Evergrande. David Mutsami Lungah’s players have big qualities on the mental side. The Kenya Prisons show strong devotion to volleyball. They play passionately and celebrate every point as it was the most important one in their career. The African team have an incredible fighting spirit. Captain Diana Khisa says: “We always want to win when we go on the court, even against strong opponents. We believe in our chances.” Another big advantage of the Kenya Prisons is their team cohesion. “We’ve been playing together for more than seven years and feel as an unit”, explains Brackcides Khadambi. Khadambi sees their opportunity for change in a learning-by-doing process: “We have to participate frequently at big events, not only as club but as national team too. We can catch up our lack of experience by playing more games against strong opponents. I am sure we can do it.”
Kenya Prisons continue their 2013 FIVB Women's Club World Championship campaign on Friday (17.30 local time) taking on host Volero Zurich.