Year in Review: Malkia Strikers fell short and so did Prisons and Pipeline
- As the curtains fall on 2018, there is nothing much to celebrate following a bitter affair for Kenya’s volleyball after the national teams and clubs recorded poor performances in the World and Africa Club Championships.
- The World Cup qualifiers are set for early next year with the global fiesta which will serve as the 2020 Olympics qualifiers set to be held later in September, in Japan.
As the curtains fall on 2018, there is nothing much to celebrate following a bitter affair for Kenya’s volleyball after the national teams and clubs recorded poor performances in the World and Africa Club Championships.
In the months of March and April, at the Women and Men CAVB African Club Championships held in Egypt, Kenyan teams ate humble pie failing to match the might of their North African counterparts as the four teams which represented Kenya – Prisons(women team), Pipeline, GSU and Prisons men – all crashed out without claiming a medal to their name.
In the women contest for instance, where Kenya has had her dominance reverberate across Africa, the reign is seemingly coming to an end, after Prisons and Pipeline failed to reclaim the continental title.
Six time champions Kenya Pipeline under the tutelage of Japheth Munala , who has since left the club for rivals KCB, finished third behind winners Al Ahly of Egypt and runners up Carthage of Tunisia with their dream of ending a 13-year drought going up in smoke, after they were bundled out by nine-time record winners Al Alhly in the semi-finals setting a third place date with compatriots Prisons who fell to 2017 winners Carthage at the same stage.
Pipeline hit their local nemesis by straight sets to claim third place but that is as far as it went.
Prisons under David Lung’aho are the last Kenyan side to clinch the coveted title when the reigning Kenya Volleyball Federation League champions downed GSP Algier of Algeria in 2013 and since then it has been an all North African affair.
But in the wake of their title hoodoo in Cairo, Munala and Lung’aho attributed North Africa’s dominance to proper investment warning that lack of proper structures in the country will remain a big hurdle for Kenya’s success.
“Our opponents have invested heavily hence good results and if we will continue playing out-door then expect the same results next year because over and over we have said volleyball is an indoor arena but our plea has fallen on deaf ears. Government doesn’t want to invest in volleyball,” the two lamented then after bowing out.
In men’s category, General Service Unit (GSU) and Kenya Prisons also failed to rise to the occasion crashing out in the knockout stages to keep Kenya waiting for their first ever African Men Club Championship title.
GSU failed to replicate their local dominance at the continetal stage after falling by 3-1 sets at the hands of eventual winners and hosts Al Ahly while the 2011 silver medalists Prisons were edged out by El Guish of Egypt in straight sets.
Malkia poor show
In the World Championship, despite registering a historic win in the biennial tourney held in Japan, Malkia Strikers failed to reach the second round for the six-successive-time, the dream nipped in the bud.
The nine-time African champions thumped Kazakhstan by straight sets in the opener to announce their return in the championship in style after an eight-year hiatus but failed to record another win in their pool falling to Serbia, Puerto Rico and Brazil to cap another forgetful outing.
Despite crashing out from the championship, Malkia’s Technical Director David Lung’aho expressed his optimism in the new blood noting the new faces will be vital ahead of 2019 FIVB World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics qualifiers.
“It was a good show in Japan despite missing out our second round. The likes of Chepchumba (Sharon) and Kasaya (Leonida) starred in this year’s championship which was their debut in international assignment. We intended to expose them ahead of next year’s Olympics qualifications.” Lung’aho told Citizen Digital then.
The duo headlined five new faces that made the final cut in the Japheth Munala squad that travelled to Japan.
Other three rookies in the team that travelled to Japan were libero Agrippina Kundu, KCB’s Christine Siwa and Kenya Prisons Loreen Chebet.
The World Cup qualifiers are set for early next year with the global fiesta which will serve as the 2020 Olympics qualifiers set to be held later in September, in Japan.
Cameroon the new found opponent
In Under-20 African Nations Championship, the script was the same as Junior Malkia Strikers failed to punch equal to its weight with Cameroon proving their mettle as the new found opponent of Kenya.
During the three-week event which was held at the Kasarani Indoor Arena, Kenya’s dreams where shattered by the West African who thumped them 3-1 at the preliminary stages.
This painful defeat by Cameroon came in the backdrop of a similar dose they administered on Kenya in the senior competition en route to bagging their fifth continental crown.
Following the woeful performance by the juniors, fans raised the alarm bells as the strongest challenge to Kenya has traditionally emanated from North Africa.
But even in the wake of the glaring regression, the juniors’ head coach Paul Gitau attributed the poor performance to poor preparations.
“Kenya will remain a force to reckon with as far as volleyball is concerned. We did not prepare well for the junior championship because most of the players came direct from East Africa School games. Yes, last year Cameroon beat us but they were hosts. We are far much better than them,” he scoffed .
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