After leading the senior men’s volleyball team to fourth place at the just concluded All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville, head coach Paul Bitok has called for support and consistency in national teams if Rwanda is to cement its place among the sport’s powerhouses on the continent.
In an exclusive interview with Times Sport, the Kenyan trainer, Bitok, made the appeal to volleyball federation and Ministry of Sports and Culture.
While putting emphasis on the senior men’s national team, the 41-year-old former Kenya international, said his teams’ major rivals, the North African giants namely; Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria rarely miss competitions and so should Rwanda. Algeria won gold in Brazzaville, while Egypt took bronze.
“The recent performance in All-Africa Games proves our potential to become a powerhouse, it is just a matter of regular preparations, having international friendly matches against big teams and competing in as many international competitions as possible, with that, I’m convinced we can do a lot better,” he said.
He also noted that, “It is very rare for the likes of Algeria, Egypt or Tunisia to miss out in any competition and we need to draw some lessons from them.”
Bitok stressed that building strong teams is a process and therefore they (teams) should be prepared and followed up regularly, not weeks before competitions.
At the 11th All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Rwanda defied odds from a deadly pool B alongside Cameroon, Ghana, Algeria, Seychelles and Cape Verde to finish fourth behind champions Algeria, hosts Republic of Congo and bronze medalists Egypt.
It is yet to be confirmed whether Rwanda will compete in the Olympic Games qualifiers in January 2016, World Championships qualifiers from May to September, 2016 as well as Youth and Junior Championships.
However, Bitok, who has been in charge of the all national teams at all levels, finds it very important for Rwanda to prepare ahead of time and take part in all the upcoming competitions.