Kenya Pipeline and KCB Volleyball clubs wrapped up their final preparations today as they prepare to depart for Egypt tomorrow for the Africa Women’s Volleyball club championship. The third team representing Kenya in the tournament, Kenya Prisons will also be leaving tomorrow at 11pm.
The three sides have been holding training for the last couple of weeks as they seek to reclaim the title Kenya lost to Algeria last year. During last year’s final, Prisons lost three sets to nil against GSP Alger of Algeria. Prior to last year’s defeat, Prisons had won the title four times in a row.
For KCB and Pipeline, it has been a case of so close yet so far since they last won the title back in 2006 and 2005 respectively. The two sides have been flirting with the Africa glory for the last nine years. In that duration, Pipeline has lost in four finals with three defeats coming from bitter rivals Kenyan Prisons. On the other hand KCB has lost in one final back in 2009.
On paper Pipeline looks like the team to beat having won the national title last year and this year they stamped their authority in the league with another win over Kenya Prisons in the first leg of the Kenya Volleyball league. However Prisons head coach David Lungaho is determined to guide his side to another title and he is certain his players will step up during the tournament.
“off course we are going for revenge, last year we lost in the final because we did not defend well but since then we have improved and we are playing very well, I believe in my players and I believe we can win the title” Lungaho stated.
“At the moment pipeline are playing very well, but this is a continental event where by every team goes there with one purpose that is to win, Kenyan clubs will have stiff opposition from North Africans but it is my wish Kenyans team excel and I would love to see all the three clubs in the semi finals.” He added.
Lungaho will be without three key players namely Mercy Moim, national captain Braxidies Agala as well as Jane Wacu who were key members of the team that lost in last year’s final. However Lungaho who also doubles up as national coach for women’s team says his side has copped well without the trio and that he is not worried. Lunghao says the players in his team are performing very well.
The last time we had an all Kenyan final in the tournament was back in 2012 when Prisons secured a three sets to nil win over Kenya Pipeline. Pipeline setter Janet has hailed his side saying they have worked on their mistakes and the team has improved since last year. Pipeline will be aiming to win their first title for the first time since in ten years and Wanja remains confident they can break the jinx.
“Prisons had a relative experienced squad and they had good players, pipeline lost some key players hence the reason we have failed to capture the title, we’ve had young players but now the young players have gained experience” Wanja said.
However Wanja believes it will not be a walk in the park for Pipeline considering the challenge posed by KCB and Prisons. Wanja says Prisons will not miss the likes of Wacu and Agala. She has also pointed out on North Africa clubs with the two set of groups set to renew rivalry when the tournament starts o Wednesday.
Meanwhile KCB coach Vernon Kainga says his side has been working on defence as they seek to secure their second title in Africa. Kainga has named a strong squad that will travel to Cairo led by captain Glady’s Wairimu and he has also tipped the North Africans as the teams to watch during the championship.
Photo Credit: Michezo Afrika