The Jaguars and Panthers; Volleyball Team Success Story
The Strathmore Volleyball teams have risen from a humble beginning to become Kenya Universities Sports Association (KUSA) league champions; with the National KUSA championship for the Strathmore Volleyball male team (Jaguars) scooping the National KUSA championship and the volleyball ladies team (Panthers) taking the Nairobi KUSA championship.
The team was started by their current coach; Mr. James Josp Barasa in 2011. Over the years the team has defied all the odds to achieve success. James reminisces the humble beginnings, “when we started, I had very few players with most of them being volunteers. They were not under any scholarship, they just loved the game and enjoyed playing it. I had to motivate the players most often than not, while requesting players from outside to also motivate the players. In 2012, a select group from the team received their first Strathmore Sports Scholarships; Elias Kariki, Samuel Petite, Rebecca Wasilu- female team captain, Albert Mandela- male team captain.”
Since its inception, the team has participated in the KUSA leagues, performing well in the tournaments, which provided a source of encouragement for the team to thrive.
A strict criterion is used for recruiting new members into the team, in an effort to maintain excellence. According to the Coach; a tall height, good grades with a minimum of a B (plain) in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) national examination, and good discipline are essential factors to consider during the selection process.
Setting up a proper team also proves to be challenging according to the Coach, “Coming up with a team can sometimes be tricky where we get good players who do not have the right grades to join the university. Sometimes we have to share the training ground with the rugby team, at times we collide. This provides a challenging environment for the team practice that could affect their overall performance.”
The coach is also in the process of initiating a new area of the volleyball game through beach volleyball. “We are planning to start beach volleyball, a game played between two players, on sand. We are in the process of preparing the grounds for this at the Strathmore Sports Complex. Once we clear that mandate with the Dean of Students, with the field in place we will call for interested students to join the team,” says James.
In the spirit of optimism, the coach hopes that that in the near future, both volleyball teams will be among the top clubs in Kenya. He also hopes that the teams will join the National league to compete with senior volleyball clubs such as; Prisons, GSU, KCB, Kenya pipeline win to carry home a trophy.