What you need to know:
- The 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-7) win follows another straight sets victory over Cote d'Ivoire's ASEC Mimomas in their opening match of the campaign on Wednesday at the same venue.
In Kelibia, Tunisia
Kenya Pipeline Thursday continued their bright start at the African Clubs Championships with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-7) win over Ethiopia’s National Alcohol at Aissa Ben Nasr Arena here in Kelibia, Tunisia.
Despite winning in straight sets, it was not easy sailing for the Oilers who recovered from a slow start especially in the first set to stamp their authority in this match.
The win follows another straight sets victory over Cote d'Ivoire's ASEC Mimomas in their opening match of the campaign on Wednesday at the same venue.
Coach Paul Gitau made good his promise to change his entire first team as he started with a new side. The experienced duo of Ruth Jepng’etich and Trizah Atuka led the youngsters out on court with setter Esther Mutinda, Magdalyne Chemtai, Metrine Wabwile and Lydia Emokol completing the first six. Betty Sifuna started as the libero.
Following the win, Pipeline sit top of Pool “B” with six points from two matches.
“It’s a new environment for the players, trying to understand the court and the opponents. They made a few mistakes but they did well to adjust. They picked up well like the last the opponent scored only seven points,” said Gitau.
“I’m still looking for the best. At the end of the week I need to know the best nine or 10 who we can keep interchanging. I believe all my players are good, it's just that a few who have an upper hand over the others. This is exactly what I’m trying to note ahead of the big matches,” he added.
National Alcohol were first off the blocks taking a surprise 8-6 lead at the first technical time out as Pipeline struggled to settle. However, Alcohol’s bubble was burst by a six-point rally from Emokol whose services destabilised their play, handing Pipeline a 16-10 lead at the second technical time out. Pipeline sealed the set at 25-15.
Gitau stuck with the same line-up for the second set and this time they had a better start leading 8-4 at the first technical timeout before widening the gap to 16-8 at the second technical timeout. A late rally from Alcohol barely troubled Pipeline who won 25-17.
The more the Pipeline floodgates opened, the more Alcohol became flat and there was barely any resistance as Gitau’s charges completed the job comfortably winning the third set 25-7.
Atuka, one of the best middle blockers in the country, was surprisingly fielded as an opposite and Gitau was impressed by her input.
“I want her to understand how to play two positions. This morning I had a chat with her so that she should understand what I’m trying to do, it’s not a surprise. If anybody flops in the middle she can come in, if Wangeci (Esther) flops in opposite she can also come in,” explained Gitau.
Pipeline play AS Douanes of Burkina Faso on Friday 6pm EAT while Kenya’s other representatives return to court to play Tunisian champions CS Sfaxien from 10.30pm.
Friday fixtures (all matches at Aissa Ben Nasr Hall)
Carthage v National Alcohol 12pm
ASEC Mimosas v Customs 2pm
Muzinga v Kelibia 4pm
Pipeline v Douanes 6pm
Prisons v CS Sfaxien 10.30pm