Kenya will make a debut in the fifth catchball games in Las Vegas, USA from February 28 to March 1.
Although popular in the US, catchball is a new game in Kenya. Just like volleyball, it is played by two teams on a playing court divided by a net. The objective of the game is to pass the ball over the net in order to ground it on the opponent’s side of the court, and to prevent the same effort by the opponent. The ball is put in play with a serve, thrown over the net to the opponents.
Kenya women’s catchball national teamcoach Shadrack Okello told Nation Sport the reception of the sport has been good and expects the team to do well in Las Vegas.
“Catchball is a game derived from volleyball and it is very enjoyable due to its simplicity. It is played indoors with six players on each side. The big difference between volleyball and catchball is that in the latter the ball is thrown and not spiked,” Okello explained.
“I was introduced to the game in Israel and I have been teaching the same in Kenya from 2018 when we started training at the KICC ground. These ladies have embraced the sport and have been training very hard. We have 28 players in the national team but will trim the squad ahead of the tournament,” he added.
Okello is hoping to get support from the Ministry of Sports to enable the team to prepare better and travel for the games.
“They (Ministry of Sports) are aware of what we are doing and have promised to assist. We really hope that happens soon,” he said.
Team captain Gemmine Akinyi said their biggest challenge has been lack of training equipment and an indoor facility to hold their sessions.
“We train at this open ground in Babadogo and the weather hasn’t been favourable and therefore we have been forced to miss many sessions which is not good bearing in mind we are going for an international tournament for the first time. We also lack equipment such as proper balls and shoes,” she said.
“Besides all these, we are enjoying the game and looking forward to representing Kenya in Las Vegas next month and hopefully make a living from the game in the near future.”
Kenya has been placed in Group C which has other beginners in the sport. They will battle against Capital Catchball from Washington DC, Dream Catchers from Seattle, LA Angels, Net Angels from Atlanta and Vegas Royals.
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