Volleyball: Kenya Defence Forces to use KVF play-offs to prepare for 2019 regional military games

Kenya Defence Forces' Eliud Samoei in action against Equity Bank on September 21. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

“This is our year of triumph. So, you better watch out this space.”

Those were the words of Kenya Defence Forces team manager Alfred Ruto yesterday ahead of this weekend’s (December 1-3) Kenya Volleyball Federation National League play-offs at Kasarani.

The soldiers will be seeking their first ever national title as they make a return to the play-offs after a two-year absence.

KDF, who finished fourth in the regular season, will launch their title quest against former champions Prisons Kenya on Saturday at 1 pm in a tournament to be played in a round-robin format.

Thereafter they will lock horns with champions General Service Unit at 2 pm the following day.

They will then wrap up their fixtures against Kenya Ports Authority on Monday at 10 am.

And with a strong squad comprising a mixture of experience and youth at their disposal, Ruto is confident the soldiers can pull off a surprise in the three-day competition.

Though they will miss the services of experienced right attacker Phillip Maiyo, the official backed the youthful quartet of Micah Lagat, Bernard Wechuli, Samoei Kibet and Kelvin Aggrey to impress on their play-offs debut.

“It is a great feeling to be back in the play-offs. We are ready and going there in full force with eyes on the prize.

“Yes, we’ve a youthful squad but I believe the boys are more than ready for the big stage. We’ve rectified our back court mistakes and everyone is raring to go,” Ruto told Standard Sports.

“Of course, we will miss Maiyo’s experience and leadership on the court, but we’ve Sila (Makiso) and Elisha (Aliwa) to step in. It’s a decision he made to give young players a chance. But he will be there to motivate them.”

Considered the tournament’s dark horses, the soldiers intend to use the play-offs as part of their preparation for next year’s East Africa Military Games in Nairobi.

“It’s my hope that the dark horses’ tag will work to our advantage. But we are equal to the task. Apart from GSU, I think we’re at the same level with KPA and Prisons. The opening match against Prisons will be interesting,” said Ruto.

“We need to end the year on a high note. But given that next year we are hosting the East Africa Military Games, it’s a good platform for us to prepare for it.”

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