Kenyan volleyball clubs are back on top in Africa

KCB volleyball players celebrate after winning the Africa Clubs Championships held in Tunisia on May 31. [Courtesy] 

Over the past nine years, it is clear that Kenyan clubs have not performed particularly well in the African women’s volleyball Club Championships thus enabling North African clubs to show their dominance in the continental showpiece.

However on Tuesday night, KCB Bank women’s volleyball team ended the Kenyan jinx after reclaiming the title that last landed in Kenyan soil in 2013 courtesy of Prisons Kenya.

Kenyan teams are the second most successful on the continental stage behind their Egyptian counterparts.

In the 2022 championships that concluded at Kelibia, Tunisia where 16 clubs took part, Kenyan clubs emerged the best after KCB won gold and Kenya Pipeline settled for bronze.

The bankers stunned 10-time record holders Al Ahly of Egypt 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 11-25, 28-26) to become the new African queens for the second time after winning the title in 2006.

Pipeline upset immediate former champions Carthage of Tunisia 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 15-11) for the bronze medal.

Prisons Kenya finished fifth overall after beating Rwanda's APR.

KCB captain Edith Wisa was full of praise to her teammates.

“We played as a team throughout the tournament. The final match was extremely tough as our opponents were equally good but we managed to outshine them,” said Wisa who insisted the focus now shifts to the domestic league set to resume this month.

Joyful KCB’s head coach Japheth Munala in a post-match interview said adequate preparation was their secret weapon.

“Hardwork, proper coordination, adequate preparation and support from the KCB management enabled us to win the title,” said Munala who was supported by the team’s Technical Director Paul Bitok.

“We are happy the trophy is back in Kenya. We played well in the two opening sets before our opponents dominated the third set. In the fourth set, I brought in experienced Phosca Kasisi who killed the game,” said the coach.

High flying Sharon Chepchumba was the highest scorer with 32 points while Wisa and Mercy Moim had 12 and seven points respectively in the final. Aya Hamdy and M Mariam had 30 and 13 points for the Egyptian side.

“As I said before the start of the tournament, we have been taking one step at a time and this is what we did in the final match.

“I give credit to the players who did not disappoint throughout the championships,” added Munala.

The coach commended Pipeline and Prisons Kenya who set aside their domestic rivalry to support them in the final match.

“We received overwhelming cheering from Pipeline and Prisons players who were at the hall to support us,” said the tactician.