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Zamalek end KPA Club Championship dream

VOLLEYBALL AND HANDBALL By Elvince Joshua and Ernest Ndunda | April 24th 2021
FILE:Kenya Ports Authority volleyball players trains at KPA Gymnasium in Mombasa.[Omondi Onyango,Standard]

Heavy blocks by Zamalek and poor back court play from Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) were the major forces that conspired against the Kenyan representatives who crashed out of the Africa Club Championship yesterday.

However coach Sammy Mulinge said his side had picked valuable lessons from the tournament despite bowing out in the quarter-finals stage.

“The experience gained by the KPA players will absolutely go a long way when the team returns home to participate in the national league.

“Our target was to make it to the quarter-finals, which we achieved.  We had a game plan before we left Mombasa for Tunisia, which has worked well,” Mulinge said of his players, most who were making their first trip outside the country

KPA bowed out of the competition after suffering a 3-1 (25-13, 22-25, 25-16, 25-13) defeat to five-time African champions, despite putting up a spirited fight in a lively quarter-final in Tunis, Tunisia.

KPA who are taking part in the competition for the first time will now fight for position 5-8 in the placement matches.

Zamalek were the firm favourites ahead of the match and the Pharaohs lived up to expectation when they grabbed the opening set 25-22.

Zamalek took full advantage of a lack of exposure by KPA from the back court, juvenile mistakes after KPA twice served on their net as they marched to victory.

Despite the early stumble, KPA regrouped in the subsequent set that they won 25-23. Enock Mogeni was the star in the match as he kept terrorizing Zamalek defence.

Mogeni, a right attacker who is based in Sweden was however playing with an injury which he picked during the preliminary match against Rwanda’s Armee Patriotique Rwandaise (APR) last Sunday. The injury saw him sit out of the last match against Esperance.

Though the dream of a maiden appearance at the 2021 FIVB World Club Championship is out of their plans, KPA, who are top of the local volleyball league, gained valuable experience that they will apply in the local national league.

“The experience gained by the KPA players will absolutely go a long way when the team returns home to participate in the national league,” noted Sammy Mulinge, KPA’s assistant coach.

KPA stormed into the quarter-finals after beating Burundi’s Rukinzo and APR of Rwanda. They lost one group stage match to Tunisia’s Esperance.

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