NAIROBI, Kenya, March 14 – New signing Jane Wacu is conspicuously missing from the Kenya Pipeline provisional squad released on Tuesday to begin residential training ahead of April’s Africa Women’s Club Championship to be staged in Tunisia.
Also missing on the list is former captain Ruth Jengetich who returned to the squad this season after being sidelined for two years with an illness. Jengetich is still recuperating after surviving cancer scare which put her out of action since 2015, the last time she took part in a competitive match with the national team, in Japan.
Wacu reportedly joined Pipeline for a three-year contract deal after making the switch from rivals Kenya Prisons last month. But Africa’s best setter who spent 10 years at Prisons before returning to the side she left in 2006, is yet to link up with her new club, two weeks into the contract.
She is understood to be out of the city; shooting a reality TV show to air in one of the local Television channels. The deal is around Ksh. 2.3 million.
Her move to Pipeline came just two days after the close of Kenya Volleyball Federation League transfer window which technically locked her out from turning for the reigning champions in the domestic league this campaign.
However, she is eligible to play at the continental stage provided that Pipeline had not submitted their registration form to Confederation of Africa Volleyball by the time the deal was penned.
She is expected to link up with her new team-mates anytime after March 16 to fight for her place in the traveling squad.
Wacu will have to battle for position with her national team greatest competitor for the starting role, Janet Wanja and youthful setter Veronica Tanui. Only two setters will travel to Tunisia. This, could, however be Wanja’s last international assignment with Pipeline having pressed warning alarm of retirement at the end of the season.
The squad also has Kenya’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Triza Atuka who is also the team captain and her assistant Noel Murambi, Esther Wangeci and Leonidas Kasaya.
The team which will be trimmed further to 14 is a blend of youth and experience. Mildred Odwoko and Wanja are most experienced players in the squad that also have fresh blood in Yvonne Sinaida, Edna Mwombe and Beldine Akinyi. Others are Agripina Kundu, Violet Makuto, Gaudencia Makokha.
Pipeline who came third in the last campaign, will be searching for their first continental title since 2005. The reigning national champions have seven continental titles in their cabinet, just one shy of record holders Al Ahly of Egypt.
Triza Atuka, Janet Wanja, Veronica Tanui, Noel Murambi, Monica Biama, Agripina Kundu, Leonidas Kasaya, Violet Makuto, Edna Mwombe, Yvonne Synaida, Esther Wangeci, Gaudencia Makokha, Valentine Chepkemboi, Mildred Odwako, Cellestine Nyongesa, Christine Njambi, Beldine Akinyi.
-By Elvince Joshua-