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Pipeline ready to reclaim women’s title

Last updated 8 months ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi

Kenya Pipeline setter Esther Mutinda during training at Nyayo Gymnasium ahead of the upcoming 2019 National Volleyball play-offs at Kasarani. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Former Kenyan international Margaret Indakala wants to leave a legacy in the domestic volleyball scene by winning the national women’s league title with Kenya Pipeline in next week’s (November 22-24) play-offs at Kasarani Stadium.

Indakala, who won the title as a player with the defunct Telkom and KCB, has claimed the title four times with oil merchants but as an assistant coach during Japheth Munala’s tenure at the helm.

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However, having been elevated to head coach role after the departure of Munala to KCB at the close of last season, just weeks after losing the title to rivals Kenya Prisons, Indakala is eager to reclaim the title on her first stint as Pipeline boss.

“As the coach, I would like to make history with Pipeline. I won this title as a player and now it’s a chance for me to lift it as a head coach. I know it will not be easy but we are all working hard to ensure we reclaim the trophy we lost last year,” Indakala told Standard Sports after Thursday’s training at Nyayo Stadium Gymnasium.

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The Embakasi-based outfit begin their title campaign next Friday morning against champions Kenya Prisons before clashing with debutants Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) the following day. They will then wrap up their play-offs with a tie against fancied KCB on Sunday afternoon.

Though Indakala anticipates a tough play-offs tournament, her target is to take back the title to Eastlands.

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“In every tournament, you always go for a win and that’s exactly what we are going for starting on Friday,” she said.

“We are doing our best to rectify our mistakes and strengthen our weaknesses ahead of the play-offs. I believe and trust the players we have and I’m confident they will bring back the title.”

But the bad news for the Indakala side is that she will have plan for the play-offs without her influential captain Trizah Atuka, middle-blocker Yvonne Sinaida and right-attacker Beldine Akinyi due to injuries.

“It is unfortunate we have lost a number of our key players especially centres through injuries, but I believe the likes of Ruth (Jepngetich), Tepla (Simiyu) and Gladys (Ekaru) will fill the gap.

“Regardless of the sickness Ruth had, she is coming up very well and we expect her to feature at the play-offs,” she said.

Just like Indakala, Kwanthanze alumnus Esther Mutinda, who will be making her debut at the play-offs is confident of reclaiming the title.

“As a team we are working hard, focused and determined to achieve our goal of reclaiming the title. Yes, we lost a number of players at the beginning of the season, but I think right now the team is stronger,” Mutinda said.