NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 – Kenya Prisons women’s volleyball club lost their opening group B match 3-1 (25-14, 25-21, 17-25, 25- 16) to African record champions Ah Ahly in the Africa Club Championship in Manastir, Tunisia Friday evening.
The loss leaves the five-time Africa champions in the worst possible situation with three -matches must win in this group in order to progress to the last eight.
The defeat also means that Prisons may meet compatriots Kenya Pipeline in the quarter final should they go through, something that may jeopardize Kenya’s chances of winning her first continental title in five years.
The warders, who are under pressure to return back to the podium for the first time since 2012, started the match on a rather low note, after they allowed the Pharaohs to take the first two sets, a mistake that really cost them three points.
Ahly opened a four point lead (10-6) in the first set before widening the gap to 16-7 at the second technical time out, giving Prisons very little option to catch up.
Prisons were extremely poor in the opening set despite starting with a strong line up and with every department struggling, David Lung’aho was forced to make double substitution in the first set where setter Joy Lusenaka came on for experienced Jane Wacu while Edith Wisa was pulled out for Lydia Maiyo.
At this moment, Ahly were cruising to a comfortable lead with 10 points margin with the score board reading 21-11 in favour of the North Africans.
Prisons gave Ahly numerous chance balls which the opponents used to punish them even as the former champions’ struggles not anywhere near end. Ahly easily wrapped the first set 25-14.
Prison’s defense was shaky and their attack wanting. Despite Lung’aho pulling out Braxcides Agala for Wisa in the second set, the change did very little to salvage the situation, save for the loss-margin in the second set that stumbled 25-21.
In the most important fourth set after they won the third set 25-17 to reduce the set deficit to 2-1.
Ahly, however, returned to the fourth set with more anger, taking a 5-1, 7-2 leading before extending the gap further 11-6 only to wind up the game 25-16 and run away with the all important three points.
Prisons will next take on Marsa of Tunisia on Saturday, a match they must win by straight sets to remain of progressing to the next stage. Earlier in the day, Kenya Pipeline had beaten APR of Rwanda and will now squire it out with Sonatrach from Algeria Saturdat afternoon.
-By Elvince Joshua-