What you need to know:
- NCPB reigned supreme against Rwandan champions Gicumbi 34-32 in the final, while Nairobi Water had to come from a goal down at the break to beat NCPB 27-24 in the last match of the women's category that was played in round-robin format
- Nairobi Water captain Glady Chillo, who also won the best left back accolade, acknowledged the competitiveness of the Championship saying their title came under threat on many occasions but teamwork made the difference
National Cereals and Produce Board (men) and Nairobi Water(women) handball teams shrugged off stiff competition to successfully defend their East and Central Africa Handball Clubs Championship titles as the curtains came down on the week-long event at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Saturday.
NCPB reigned supreme against Rwandan champions Gicumbi 34-32 in the final, while Nairobi Water had to come from a goal down at the break to beat NCPB 27-24 in the last match of the women's category that was played in round-robin format.
The win saw Cereals defend the title for the second consecutive year having won it last year in Zanzibar, while it's Nairobi Water 10th regional title.
On their way to final, NCPB beat Rwanda Police 28-25 to set up the final against Gicumbi who had walloped Uganda Police 33-23 on Friday while Nairobi Water maintained their unbeaten run in the women's category that had attracted five teams.
Cereals, Nkajja (Uganda), Jeshi La Kujenga Taifa (Tanzania) and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) finished in second, third, fourth and fifth positions in that order respectively.
Nairobi Water captain Gladys Chillo, who also won the best left back accolade, acknowledged the competitiveness of the Championship saying their title came under threat on many occasions but teamwork made the difference.
"Almost every team in the event gave us a run for our money and that shows that it's not business as usual but I'm glad that composure, experience and patience gave us the upper hand. We know we don't have new blood in the team but we hope that next year if the systems work we will recruit new players because we need smooth transition. Our focus switches to Kenya Handball Federation National League set to resume next year in February," said Chillo.
"Local teams have really improved and I know they will be coming for the title but we will not relent to ensure we defend the title. The club championship title is a morale booster," she added.
On his part, NCPB captain Timothy Kirimi, who was also feted as the best left wing player of the event, said the pressure was on especially in the last five minutes of play but he was glad the team kept it together to defend the title.
"The pressure was on. We had opened a seven-point lead but we lost ground and our opponents closed the gap and only two points separated us. We took advantage of their disorientation to finally carry the day. We thank the management for the support and I'm happy we have rewarded them with the title. We look forward to next year's event in Rwanda because I believe we have a formidable team that can win back-to-back local and international titles," said Kirimi.
Next year's event will be held in Rwanda from November 29 to December 8.
Nkajja v JKT (W) (32-28)
Uganda Police v Rwanda Police (M) (27-30)
NCPB v Nairobi Water (W) ( 24-27)
NCPB v Gicumbi (M) (34-32)
Fairplay team : Jeshi La Kujenga Taifa (Tanzania)
Goalkeeper : Regina Waithera (NCPB)
Right Back : Cecilia Katheu (Nairobi Water)
Left back: Naomi Muyoka (NCPB)
Centre back :Liliana Achola (Nkajja)
Left back: Gladys Chillo (Nairobi Water)
Pivot player :Eupharasia Mukasia ( KDF)
Right back :Mitchell Adhiambo (Nairobi Water)
Fairplay team: Equity Bank
Goalkeeper : Arsene Uwayezu (Gicumbi)
Centre player : Ibrahim (Uganda Prisons)
Left back : Snox Collins (NCPB)
Right wing :Andrew Akakzu ( Gicumbi)
Right back : Nicholas Okore (NCPB)
Left wing : Timothy Kirimi (NCPB)
Pivot player: Brian Wakukha (NCPB)