NOC-K bails out broke netball team for South Africa trip

NOC-K bails out broke netball team for South Africa trip

  • NOC-K undertook to cater for air tickets, tracksuits and kits, financial support, accommodation and Covid-19 tests.

The national women’s netball team, Divas, will depart on Friday night for the Africa Cup 2022 after the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) lent the squad a hand for their South Africa’s trip following weeks of uncertainty.

The squad of 12 athletes and five officials were scheduled to leave for Pretoria on Thursday but according a source who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, the government remained non-committal on facilitating the team for the championship which starts on August 21.

The Africa Cup doubles up as second of the five qualifiers, for the Netball World Cup 2023 (NWC2023), in Cape Town South Africa.

NOC-K undertook to cater for air tickets, tracksuits and kits, financial support, accommodation and Covid-19 tests.

The two top finishing teams from the event will then be invited by World Netball to compete at the NWC2023, this does not include South Africa who have already pre-qualified for the NWC2023 as hosts.

Head coach Joseph Makau has exuded confidence they will clinch one of the two tickets reserved for Africa.

“We have never trained as long and hard as we have now, the excitement in the team is inspiring and moving. We have two goals going into the games. To qualify for the 2023 Cape town World Cup and improve our ranking. Kenya dominates in sports and we need to fly our flag high as netball.”

Kenya is in Pool B against Zambia, Malawi and Eswatini.

Divas are currently ranked 40th in the world, Uganda sixth, Malawi seventh, Zimbabwe 13th, Zambia 17th, Namibia 23rd and Botswana 28th

The competition will be played in a round-robin format with the 9 teams split into two pools based on the most recent results from the Africa Cup 2021 final placing.

Parin Simiyu, the captain of the team will lead the Divas ahead of their first game on Sunday against Zambia.

The latest call up in the team, 20 years of age is midfielder center, Vida Atieno.

Shooter Lydia Nyapere and midcourt Irene Anyango who earned their first call ups to the national team at the 2019 Africa Championship have also joined the team. Other notable inclusions are seasoned shooter Bridgit Nanzala and ever-green defender Florence Ndombi.

Speaking during the handover of the cheque, NOC-K Secretary General Francis Mutuku spoke on the excitement NOC-K has in supporting the team as it departs.

“We’re delighted to support the National Netball women’s team to represent the country at the Africa Cup, having come straight from the Commonwealth Games, we’ve been challenged to see our fellow neighbors perform well and improve our ranking.”

“We’ve come back with lessons learnt and we want to develop our sports and begin the journey to Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.”

The treasurer, Eliud Kariuki also encouraged the team to give their best as they represent the country, acting as a unifying factor as the tournament falls under certain political factors in the country.

Women Representative Paurvi Rawal and executive member Paul Otula seconded Francis Mutuku and Eliud Kariuki citing the 2014 Youth Games bronze medal should motivate the girls towards yearning for a position in the 2026 Victoria Games.

The executive members also shared important lessons, experiences and challenges from Birmingham Commonwealth Games and assured an open pathway for further communication.

Additional reporting by NOC-K


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NOC-K Divas Africa Cup 2022

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