By: PHILIP ONYANGO
All the eight teams are in Mombasa ahead of the national volleyball playoffs matches set for the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Makande Gymnasium starting Friday.
Defending men’s champions Kenya Prisons and former women champions, the female Kenya Prisons team, were the last to arrive at the Coastal resort for the three-day round robin playoffs which will run up to Sunday.
Defending women champions Kenya Pipeline were the first to land last Tuesday. They were followed by Nairobi Water women a day later, same as military side Ulinzi and para-military General Service Unit (GSU) men. Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) women arrived on Monday morning.
The playoffs, which are expected to be very competitive, will see Pipeline, Prisons, KCB and Nairobi Water battle it out for the top honours in the women’s competition while Prisons, GSU, Ulinzi and KPA will battle it out for the men’s trophy.
Going by the teams’ performance during the regular season, it is difficult to predict the men’s champions. However, the women’s contest is set to be a two-horse race between bitter rivals Pipeline and Prisons, although rank outsiders Nairobi Water and KCB are expected to give their opponents a run for their money.
Both the wardresses and their Pipeline rivals will be without their star players, who are either injured or have gone abroad for brief professional stints.
Pipeline will be without Esther Wangeci, who in France for a pro stint, while Ruth Jepng’etich is out with a spine injury sustained at the World Championships in Japan. Prisons’ Brackcides Khadambi, Jane Wacu, Mercy Moim and Violet Makuto are abroad for brief pro stints.
This has given the Joseph Waiganjo-coached Nairobi Water and KCB a lot of confidence. Nairobi Water will have Gladys Wangui, who represented Kenya in beach volleyball at The African Games in Brazzaville, Congo, and Doreen Khaemba and Jecinta Miheso.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION