What you need to know:
- Lung’aho insists Kenya has to develop more young players to avoid playing catch up to North Africans in future.
- Pipeline coach Gitau echoed Lung’aho’s sentiments adding that the league format back home worked against Kenyan sides who looked rusty.
“Tunisia is a country to watch.”
That was the unanimous declaration of David Lung’aho and Paul Gitau, coaches of Kenya Prisons and Pipeline respectively, upon the conclusion of this year’s African Clubs Championship on Friday here at the Aissa Ben Nasr Hall in Kelibia, Tunisia.
Kenyan sides Prisons and Pipeline finished third and fifth respectively as Tunisians sides CF Carthage and CS Sfaxien won gold and silver respectively.
Carthage Friday won their second continental title in style, thrashing nemesis Sfaxien in straight sets (25-16, 25-23, 25-22) in a thrilling final.
Carthage, who came into the final with a 100 percent record, were forced to dig deep in the second and third set to overcome the stubborn Sfaxien side who will rue letting comfortable leads escape them in the tense final that lived up to its billing.
The win adds to their success in 2017 having graced the final in the last five editions.
Lung’aho, who lost to champions Carthage in the semi-finals, noted that Tunisian volleyball is on the ascendancy on the evidence of the performance of local sides in this year’s edition.
“You can see they had three strong teams so it sends a message that something is happening. If Kenya and Africa are not careful then Tunisia is coming to conquer. Maybe in the next two or three years they should be on top of Africa.
“They played so well, they are motivated and you can see they don’t have some of the problems we usually have such as reception and tough services because of the programs they are running here,” observed Lung’aho.
CO Kelibia, another Tunisian side, finished sixth and had the youngest team in the tournament with an average age of 20 years.
Lung’aho insists Kenya has to develop more young players to avoid playing catch up to North Africans in future.
“We need to change how we are doing things because at the moment things are not being done in the right way. We need to do more on youth development and let our youth play in more international tournaments,” said Lung’aho.
Pipeline coach Gitau echoed Lung’aho’s sentiments adding that the league format back home worked against Kenyan sides who looked rusty.
“Something has to be done now. If we are going to play one game per month indoors we are contradicting ourselves because we train outdoors then play league matches in the gymnasium. We are really struggling just because there is no competition at home. If we continue this way then we should forget about (winning) Clubs Championship in the next three or four years,” said Gitau.
He also delved into the youth programs in Tunisia modelled around CO Kelibia, widely considered as the volleyball hub in the country.
“We are not nurturing talent…it is high time we start that. Look at this team, it has Under-14, Under-20 and seniors which all train here. If the Under-20 team have played together for four years then they play in such a Championship they are definitely a strong team,” noted Gitau, who has been tasked with rebuilding Kenya Pipeline.
“Technically, they are better than all our teams because of how they handle the ball, doing the right thing with the ball at the right time.”
Both Prisons and Pipeline jet back into the country from Tunisia at 2.55am EAT on Sunday morning aboard a Turkish Airlines flight.
2021 Women's Club African Championship final ranking:
1. CF Carthage (Tunisia)
2. CS Sfaxien (Tunisia)
3. Prisons (Kenya)
4. Customs (Nigeria)
5. Pipeline (Kenya)
6. CO Kelibia (Tunisia)
7. AS Douanes (Burkina Faso)
8. Wolaita Sodo University (Ethiopia)
9. National Alcohol (Ethiopia)
10. ASEC Mimosas (Cote d'Ivoire)
11. Muzinga (Burundi)