NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – Kenya Defence Forces must come out with their full artilleries when they face Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in their first match of the last leg of Kenya Volleyball Federation League in Eldama Ravine on Friday lest they miss this year’s national playoff.
A loss to KPA in this must win clash will see Nyeri based soldiers miss the playoff for the first time in almost a decade.
KPA is going into this match with confidence, coming just a month after they lifted the inaugural Taita Taveta County Government open volleyball tournament; their first trophy this year under a new coach James Ontere.
The two sides are fighting for the last ticket to the Jack Pot playoff whose winner will book automatic ticket to 2017 Confederation of Africa Volleyball Federation (CAVB) men’s Africa Club championship.
KPA is fourth on the log, three points above KDF. A win for the Dockers who have 21 points and 0.30 (1.40) set ration advantage over KDF’s 1.11 will force the military side to rethink their next strategy and come out fully in their other subsequent two clashes against Kenya Prisons and Bungoma County, hoping that KPA loses to General Service Unit and Forest Rangers to sail through.
Interestingly though, things are not looking good for Army side. Rangers reportedly pulled out of the league and should they fail to honour this leg too after doing so in Voi last month, this will automatically hand KPA a ticket to the playoff set for November in Mombasa’s Makande Hall.
This means that KDF, which is under the Air Force wing, must mobilize both their ground, water and Air wings to neutralize their enemies.
“Rangers are still in the league because they’ve not written any letter showing that they’ve pulled out but if they don’t turn up, we’ll give a walk over,” KVF fixture secretary Ismael Chege asserted.
GSU, Nairobi Water and Kenya Prisons occupies the top three positions on 30,29 and 25 points respectively.
But Prisons are not safe either. A slip up against league leaders GSU whom they are meeting in the opening match will not be welcoming news for coach Gideon Chenje who will be without Mike Chemos who has gone AWOL and Saul Omunyage, still recovering from partial blindness which resulted from an eye infection.
The Warders also have KDF and Administration Police (AP Kenya) to think about and any further slip up, will definitely increase chances of KDF and KPA moving to the money bracket playoff.
Nairobi Water booked their first playoff berth with a match against eighth placed Bungoma County. Water have only lost one match and this fixture is seen as nothing but a destruction from their indoor training which begun last week ahead of Mombasa trip.
There is no much drama expected in the women’s competition whose line-up is almost complete.
Kenya Prisons is controlling the proceedings on 21 points and their clash against perennial rivals Kenya Pipeline who are second on 15 points will be nothing but a bragging right.
Just like Prisons, Pipeline has already secured their place in the play off while third placed Nairobi Water (13) will need just one win from two fixtures against Prisons and Pipeline to cement their place same as KCB who are fourth on the log on nine points.
The Bankers will have nothing to worry about when they face Mount Kenya University in their only fixture in Ravine.
Bungoma County threw away their chances of making bit to the playoff after giving away free points last month in Voi on a walk over.
This now leaves them with tough assignment against Water, Prisons and Pipeline which they must win and hope that KCB falters in order for them to book their maiden appearance at the best of-eighth-club-competition.
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-By Elvince Joshua-