Pipeline sink DCI in league thriller as Birok steps down as Malkia Strikers coach

Mercy Iminza

Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) volleyball team player Mercy Iminza (centre) controls play against Kenya Pipeline during Kenya Volleyball Federation women’s league play-offs on October 3, 2023 at Moi International Sports Centre, Gymnasium.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo| Nation Media Group

Former champions Kenya Pipeline on Friday defeated the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) 3-1

(25-19,23-25,25-21,25-14) to leapfrog KCB into the top of the Kenya Volleyball Federation National League standings.

The Oilers laboured to the victory as the final leg of the league's regular season entered the second day at the Ulinzi Complex yesterday.

Pipeline have 20 points from seven matches ahead of second-placed KCB, who have 18 points from the same number of games, although the Bankers were not in action yesterday.

Pipeline have a rest day today, while the bankers have a date with Kenya Prisons at the Kasarani Indoor Arena.

KCB have a chance to inflict more pain on the wardress, who they defeated in the semi-finals of the African Clubs Championship in Egypt early this month, while the Prisons will be seeking revenge.

KCB, the defending champions, will then square it out with Pipeline tomorrow to determine who will top the standings at the end of the regular season.


Pipeline and KCB are unbeaten in the league.

Pipeline libero Agripinna Kundu said they had to dig deep to overwhelm DCI.

"They are a good side and if you fail to tame them in time, they can be a hard nut to crack but I'm happy that we won. That win was im-portant. We hope that all the departments will work in unison when we play KCB," said Kundu.

DCI team manager Neddy Nelimo blamed the technical bench after the loss.

"We took a set from Pipeline and the set scores show that the players played well and maybe if we had a proper technical bench we would have done better. The absence of the late coach Daniel Bor was felt but we hope the girls will pick up the pieces. We will play in the playoffs," said Nelimo after the match.

Bor died in April in the line of duty.

In the other results played at the same venue, Kenya Defence Forces beat Kenya Army 3-0(25-19,25-16,25-21), while at Kasarani, Post Bank de-feated Maranatha 3-0(25-9,25-12,25-19).

In the men's league, Kenya Army came from a set down to beat Rift Valley Prisons 3-1(17-25,25-20,25-21,25-22), while former champions General Service Unit beat Nairobi Prisons 3-1(25-21,25-20,23-25,25-12) at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium.

At the end of the regular season on Sunday, the top eight men's and women's teams will qualify for the playoffs.

Meanwhile, volleyball stakeholders have lauded the move by KVF Deputy President Paul Bitok to step down from his position as the Kenya women's volleyball team assistant coach ahead of the Paris Olympic Games.

Bitok, alongside KVF President Charles Nyaberi, were last Sunday appointed by the National Executive Committee as assistant coach and team manager, respectively.

Janet Wanja, the trainer

The two were to work alongside head coach Japheth Munala and former Malkia Strikers setter Janet Wanja, the trainer.

"After extensive consultations with the Ministry of Sports, National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOC-K), national women’s volleyball team (Malkia Strikers) players, family, friends and fans, I have elected to step down from my position as the assistant coach of the national team," Bitok said in a statement.

"This has been largely informed by the strong sentiments that have arisen out of the appointment of Malkia Strikers’ technical bench for the Paris Olympics, which I was part of."