NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 16 – Kenya Prisons needed to dig deep in a five-set thriller as they got sweet revenge over Egyptian giants Ah Ahly beating them 3-2 (13-25, 25-10, 20-25, 25-20, 15-10) to win the bronze medal at the African Women’s Club Championships in Monastir, Tunisia on Sunday.
AL Ahly had beaten the Kenyan girls 3-1 (25-14,25-21,17-25,25-16) in the opening match of the tournament but come the medal match, David Lung’aho’s girls were in no mood of let up.
Elsewhere, Kenya Pipeline who lost out to Prisons in the quarter finals managed to finish fifth after beating home side Carthage by straight sets of 33-31, 25-12, 25-18.
Pipeline recorded their worst performance since 2013 when they finished outside the top four in Antananarivo, Madagascar, the same place where Prisons won their last continental title.
Last year, Pipeline finished third while Prisons who had most of their first team regulars back from professional stints returned to the podium for the first time since 2014.
In the bronze medal match, Prisons sneaked from the blind side of the Egyptians in the tie breaker after a cat and mouse chase in the opening four sets.
Prisons had painfully lost 3-1 (25-21,25-13,24-26,25-14) to host Carthage in the semi finals to end Kenya’s dream of winning their first title in four years, and they were in to ensure at least a medal returns home after a disappointing tournament.
Overall, Kenya’s performance was not convincing enough.
Despite registering improved performance in terms of team placements compared to last year, there is an urgent need by these two clubs which once dominated the continental volleyball scene, to go back to the drawing board and possibly draft up new formula which will see them get back their groves to the elite volleyball playing nations in Africa.
More worrying is the fact that Kenya has not won this trophy since 2013 when Prisons surrendered it to GSP Petroliers of Algeria.
Before that, Prisons had dominated the continental stage with five titles including four in a row (2010, 2011,2012 and 2013).
Pipeline who has seven titles to their name last won this trophy way back in 2005 when majority of the players in their current squad members were still in Primary School.
The two Kenyan sides had clashed in the quarter finals where reigning national champions Pipeline lost 2-3 (25-13, 26-28,19-25, 25-23) to Prisons, a side which last beat them in 2013 at the playoffs.
Sfaxien overcame INJS from Cameroon to finish seventh following a 3-1(25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-9) win in the positions seventh and eighth play-off match.
-By Elvince Joshua-