Africa Merchant Assurance Company Limited (AMACO), sponsors of the annual Paul Bitok AMACO International Volleyball tournament have increased their sponsorship for the event from last year’s Sh6.6 million to Sh9.3 million for the 2018 edition.
The big purse has resulted in an increase in prize money from Sh450,000 to Sh600,000 for the more than 60 teams, from East Africa, that have confirmed their participation for the event that will run from Friday to Sunday at Eldoret Polytechnic.
Now in its 12th edition, the tournament brings together volleyball players in four categories which include senior men and women academic institutions (schools and colleges) as well as self-sponsored clubs.
“Having grown from a small event in 2005, we have continued to invest in nurturing and growing volleyball talent in this country. The role of sports worldwide cannot be over emphasised. Kenya as a nation has ripped the benefits of sports greatly.
Excellence in sourced sporting talent has continued to make an economic impact to the lives of individuals providing invaluable exposure to upcoming volleyball experts as well as providing an avenue to showcase our talent for experienced players to the international and local scene,” said AMACO Insurance CEO Elizabeth Koskei during the launch of this year’s tournament in Nairobi yesterday.
Bitok, the founder of the tournament, called on stakeholders to concentrate on nurturing talent to ensure Kenyan teams compete with their regional counterparts especially in the men’s game.
“We are not doing well as a country in terms of nurturing talents. I am happy we are starting the age group teams but more needs to be done. The right move would be starting academies that will feed the national teams with talented players as opposed to relying on schools as players need to be nurtured from a younger age,” said Bitok.
Bitok, a national team coach in Rwanda, credited with sowing the volleyball seed in the country and nurtured it to greater heights, has also underscored the need for league and national teams to get exposure.
“If we keep competing amongst ourselves and the national team getting exposure only when in action in regional and international tournaments we will never grow beyond what we have achieved,” he added.