KVF Playoffs: Prisons crumble, GSU, KPA, Blazers shine

GSU

GSU players celebrate their win against KPA during the Kenya Volleyball Federation playoffs at Nyayo National Stadium on July 31, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Trailblazers coach Geoffrey Omondi was over the moon after his side finished third.
  • “Our presence was not only felt, but we won against Prisons and managed to scoop two sets against KPA. The players did well and we look forward to the next season,” said Omondi.

It marked the end of a poor season for former champions Kenya Prisons after they finished last in the men’s Kenya Volleyball Federation National League play-offs at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

Kenya Prisons last won the league title in 2016, but they have continually given a good account of themselves in the previous seasons, despite playing second fiddle to the reigning champions General Service Unit (GSU).

Prisons, who finished second last season, blew hot and cold this season and qualified for the play-offs by a whisker.

Their dismal performance against GSU (3-1) and KPA (3-0) during the play-offs would be forgiven, but failing to go past newcomers Trailblazers left a lot to be desired.

Prisons offered little resistance to the newbies going down 3-0 as coach David Lung’aho failed to stand on the touchline choosing to sit on the bench as his players crumbled.

Assistant coach Ibrahim Odour acknowledged that it was the worst performance since he joined the side in 2008.

"Players will have to re-evaluate themselves. We are not supposed to be in that position. We need to find our groove back," said Odour.

GSU defeated the much-improved Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) 3-1 to defend the league title for a fifth time in a row.

After losing 3-0 against KPA in the regular season, many felt title race was wide open, but GSU proved them wrong.

GSU had won against perennial rivals Kenya Prisons 3-1 and 3-0 against newcomers TrailBlazers.

GSU and KPA qualified for the next year’s African Clubs Championships, but it remains to be seen if the former will honour the annual event after they failed to compete in the last edition that was held in Tunisia due to financial constraints.

GSU coach Gideon Tarus said having three of his players turn professional made an impact on the team.

“I was not worried ahead of the play-offs since I knew my players' capabilities. But I give credit to all the teams that participated in the play-offs and especially KPA who were worthy opponents. It feels good to win the title for the fifth time and we hope to extend the reign next season,” said Tarus.

Opposite attacker Abiud Chirchir, setter Brian Melly and middle-blocker Simon Kipkorir returned from their professional stints in May.

Chirchir was away with club Grand Nancy in France, Melly was with Albanian side Partizani Tirana, while Kipkorir was with Saudi Arabia’s Al Ibtisan.

KPA were content with finishing second after they placed third last season.

KPA coach Sammy Mulinge said the players gave their all, but it was not good enough.

“Anyone who has been watching us this season can attest that there has been growth, and while we would have liked to win the title, we couldn’t just contain GSU despite the good fight. I’m proud of the players. I also want to extend my gratitude to the management for their support. We can only get better,” offered Mulinge.

Trailblazers coach Geoffrey Omondi was over the moon after his side finished third.

“Our presence was not only felt, but we won against Prisons and managed to scoop two sets against KPA. The players did well and we look forward to the next season,” said Omondi.

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