NAIROBI, KENYA, Mar 2- Ahead of the African Women’s Volleyball Club Championship in Egypt next week, seven-time champions Kenya Pipeline will have to deal with an injury hit squad as they travel to North Africa.
Japheth Munala’s side will be without Christine Siwa for the nine-day championship with the centre having picked up a tear in her hand muscles while libero Aggripina Kundu, Yvonne Sinaida, Esther Wangeci and captain Noelle Murambi will be racing against time to be fit for the championship.
“It has been tough for us but I am still confident that we can go there and do well. Apart from Siwa who has been completely ruled out of the championship, I am hopeful that the rest will be fit in time because those are injuries they can manage before our first game,” Munala said.
Pipeline have also been forced to minimize their training over the past one week after being forced out of the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani Gymnasium due to the ongoing Table Tennis Continental Cup being held in the upper gym of the venue.
The reigning Kenyan champions had hoped to secure the African Nazarene University indoor complex for training, but it was also booked for another event.
“It has been tough because we have been forced to do only aerobics in the gym for the whole week. It is not ideal because this is the week we should have done our fine tuning. I hope that the two days we will have before the championship can be of help to us,” the coach noted.
Pipeline travel to Cairo on Saturday via Abu Dhabi and they will be hoping to reclaim the title they last won in 2005.
They have struggled to assert their dominance over the last decade, only coming close in 2015 when they lost 3-1 to hosts Al Ahly in Cairo. Last year, they finished a dismal fifth.
“We will have to do our best and improve on that fifth place finish last year. We expect a lot of competition because teams have improved and the biggest thing is that we hope for fair pooling. The girls look ready and hopefully, we get to do better,” the tactician offered.
Vice Captain Triza Atuka is upbeat that the team can do well.
‘Last year wasn’t very good for us and the first thing on our minds is to improve on that performance,” the 24-year old middle blocker noted.
The team was hosted for breakfast by their sponsors on Friday morning where they were officially handed over the Kenya Pipeline flag to represent the country in North Africa.
Kenya Pipeline Squad
Setters: Janet Wanja, Rose Magoi
Right attackers: Christine Ngugi, Esther Wangeci
Left attackers: Monica Biama, Noelle Murambi, Naomi Too, Leonida Kasaya
Middle blockers: Triza Atuka, Beldine Akinyi, Yvonne Sinaida, Raelle Simiyu.
Liberos: Aggripina Kundu, Celestine Nyongesa.