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Pipeline drain Ethiopia’s Alcohol in clubs showdown

VOLLEYBALL AND HANDBALL By Elvince Joshua | April 23rd 2021
Kenya Pipeline’s Sinaida Yvonne (centre) and Winnie Odhiambo playing against Lorine Kae of Kenya Prison Women in their KFV League match at Nyayo National Stadium on Friday, March 19, 2021. [jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya Pipeline took firm control of a tougher Group ‘B’ of the Women’s Africa Club Championship yesterday as General Service Unit (GSU) and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) both line up for even tougher assignments today in Tunis.

GSU has a date with Esperance of Tunisia from 6pm local time while debutantes KPA will play five-time winners Zamalek of Egypt to complete the men’s quarter-final matches. Both games will be played concurrently.

GSU, the reigning Kenyan champions are looking forward to improving the fifth-place finish in 2018 with a semi-final target being the main motivating factor for Gideon Tarus men.

That performance posted in Cairo, Egypt, still remains Kenyans best placement in the men’s edition that served off last week.

While Esperance will be at home, the absence of full capacity attendance at the gymnasium is something that Tarus is planning to take advantage of in what is expected to be his biggest test of the tournament so far.

“Fans are there though few but we are ready to face them,” Tarus told Standard Sport in an interview.

Mombasa-based KPA, meanwhile, have a tough assignment against Zamalek who are eyeing a sixth continental top podium finish.

But for coach Sammy Mulinge, the dockers have already achieved their target, a quarterfinal berth set before they set out to Tunisia.

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The other match involving a Kenyan team today will be the clash between five-time African champions Kenya Prisons who will be out in search of their second victory when they play Tunisian side Sfexien in Port city of Kalibia in the women’s competition.

Yesterday was yet another day for celebration for Kenyan delegation after Pipeline made work easy with a second straight victory against Ethiopia’s National Alcohol in Kalibia.

Pipeline who now have six points from two games served off their campaign with a straight-set victory over Ivory Coast’s Asec Mimosa on Wednesday and Paul Gitau’s charges picked from where they left when they grabbed all the three points against the Ethiopian beverage makers.

The match ended 3-0 (25-15,25-17 and 25-7) in favour of Pipeline who are looking for a seventh continental title. The oil merchants last won the championship way back in 2005.

“This is the kind of performance that we had expected, but it is too early gauge the tournament because, to be honest the last two opponents were not strong enough. The big test is still to come but we are ready for any challenge,” a confident Gitau said.

Pipeline who  are in a tough group, that also include the 2017 champions and 2019 runners up Carthage of Tunisia, Nigeria’s Customs and AS Douanes from Burkina Faso.

Just two more wins and Pipeline will book a ticket in the last four reserved only for the top two teams from the two pools.

The winner in each category will secure the single ticket reserved for Africa at the FIVB World Club Championship, set to be held in Zhengzhou, China later in the year.

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