North Africans cage Kenya

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Thursday, March 15th 2018 at 00:03 GMT +3 | Volleyball and Handball

Kenya will have to wait longer to reclaim the African Women's Volleyball Club Championship title after Kenya Pipeline and Kenya Prisons lost their respective semi-final contests at the ongoing 2018 continental tournament, in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday night.

Defending champions Carthage from Tunisia beat Prisons 3-1 to book a place in today's finals with hosts All Ahly, who defeated Pipeline by the same margin. The two Kenyan clubs will now battle for the bronze medal in an early kick-off match today.

After dominating the preliminary round and qualifying for the last eight with unbeaten records, it looked as if Prisons and Pipeline would squeeze a spot in the finals and renew their rivalry in a foreign land.

However, their hopes of ending the country's five-year title drought never came to pass as they were easily dismantled by the two well-oiled North African sides.

Kenya's last club continental title came in 2013, more than five years ago, when Prisons ousted GSP of Algeria to claim their fifth continental crown in Madagascar.

Both coaches David Lung'aho (Prisons) and Japheth Munala (Pipeline) watched in disblief as their lethargic teams were ripped apart at Al Ahly Sports Hall.

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First, it was the wardresses, who were overpowered 3-1 (25-15,22-25,25-23,25-21) by Carthage before the seven-time winners Pipeline threw away a one set lead to lose 3-1 (22-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-8) to hosts Al Ahly in the second semifinal.

The performance did not go down well with veteran coach Juma Walukhu, who blamed lack of basic skills and techniques as the main reasons for the two local giants' capitulation in Cairo.

"It's so sad that we have been beaten because of basic techniques, especially reception," said the former coach of the famous Kahawa Youth.

"Let's go back to primary school and mould them when are still young like Wanja, Eliza, Moraa, Tietie, Sam Juma, Bosire Helena. They were all at Kahawa Youth. I started coaching them when they were still young in primary school. So, please all of us coaches, let's go back to primary schools.

"Picking students after secondary school is not doing us any good. They come when they only know how to spike, smash hard. Back court zero! President Kioni (Waithaka) you used to support me a lot. I had young volleyballers when you were the chairman Nairobi branch. The project should get back to save volleyball and should be the initiative."