NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – Kenya Prisons men’s volleyball team will meet African record holders Ah Ahly of Egypt in the Africa Club Championship quarter finals after sneaking out of the group stages to book a last-eight berth on the last day of the group stages competitions in Tunisia on Tuesday evening.
The Kenyan champions qualified to the quarters for the first time in three years after seeing off Espoir of Ivory Coast in the last Pool D match to book a date with the11time Africa champions.
Prisons are chasing their maiden continental title and despite missing the last edition due to financial constrains, they bounced back against all expectations from a poor 2015 performance to seal a quarters place.
Prisons’ best performance in these games was a final appearance in 2011. Unfortunately, they lost by straights sets to Ahly and this match will present the Kenyan Warders with a perfect chance to avenge that painful loss to the Pharaohs.
Prisons needed a win to sail through and they did just that when they confined the West Africans Espoir 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-13) to book a duel with the African giants.
Prisons head coach Gideon Chenje will need to remind his charges about their loss to Ahly six years ago but even most importantly to the tactician it will be a reminder to his boys of the need for a Kenyan male club to win a first continental title.
“We must fight like a true soldier,” noted Charles Bosire, Prisons setter who was dropped from the traveling squad after learning of their next opponent.
Ahly had topped group A on maximum points after trouncing host Esperance of Tunisia 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 26-24) in Pool A match on Monday before cementing their place with another convincing victory against Ahly Benin Ghazi of Libya on Tuesday.
Ahly beat their Libyan name samecies 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 24-26 and 25-17) in a tough duel, a match that may give Prisons some shreds of hope that indeed Ahly are beatable considering the dropped set against Ahly Ghazi.
Their match against Esperance was considered a final before the final but did not live up to its billing. Prisons must however bring out their ‘A’ game when they meet the African giants as they try to write their names among the Africa’s best clubs.
Ahly improved their win-loss ratio to 3-0 while Priosns took their set win-loss ratio to 2-1. The lone Kenyan representatives just need a win against Espoir after Benin Police lost to another Tunis side, Etoile du Sahel 3-0 (25-6, 25-14, 25-19) in the last group match. Sahel who topped the group with nine points had beaten Prison by straight sets in the opening group D match last week.
-By Elvince Joshua-