By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA
ZAMBIA volleyball coach Peter Kombaniya has dropped five players from the contingent expected to leave for Kenya today ahead of 2014 Poland World Cup final round of qualifiers that starts tomorrow.
The team’s trip to Kenya was, however, by Press time still hanging in balance as the Zambia Volleyball Association (ZAVA) was locked in a meeting with the Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) in a bid to be given the remaining K60,000 to meet the revised K178,000 budget. Kombaniya, who released the names of the travelling team, expressed happiness with the quality of players picked for the tournament after an intensive training camp.
He said in an interview after a training session at the National Sports Development Centre (NASDEC) in Lusaka yesterday that his charges were ready for the challenge that lies ahead of them to make history.
“There has been a great improvement from the time we started camping. Their fitness has improved and the technique is also at its peak. The task ahead is tough but they players are up for the challenge,” he said.
Making the team is Philip Lundofu as captain, from league champions Nkwazi,as well as exciting spikers in the form of Hillary Puka and Martin Zulu.
The rest of the players who are scheduled to fly out tomorrow are Augustine Mutiti, Ephraim Lumbala, Mweete Chandaula, Raban Ngulube, Jack Chongo, Peter Kombaniya Jr, Hilary Mwandu Chindima, Steve Kabongo and Kelvin Chibale.
During the early days of training, the team suffered a setback when four players were ruled out due to pending examinations for Paul Mwale, Chilala Bbalo and Kaluba Malibati while Bernard Mambonge had a nagging knee injury.
Two other players were later dropped after absconding training and were replaced by among others Ngulube, who has managed to make the trip for the historic competition.
The trip was by Press time still hanging in a balance with the ZAVA locked up in a meeting over the trip funding with SCZ. ZAVA were initially looking for K202, 000 but later the budget was reduced to K178, 000 on advice from the SCZ for the Wold Cup Qualifiers set for Nairobi.
The association managed to source for K119, 000 from the Confederation of African Volleyball, National Olympics Committee (NOC) and from their own resources.
But K119, 000 represented about 66.9 percent of the required amount and with the SCZ requiring the association to raise 60 percent of the money before accessing funds from the local sporting authority, ZAVA has been left with an uphill battle to convince the board to bail it out. Zambia is in Group U of the World Cup qualifiers together with Egypt, Botswana, Cape Verde and hosts Kenya.
The qualifiers will run from February 5 to11 with a team topping the group advancing to the Poland finals.