Song and dance as Kenya Pipeline, KCB jet back from Tunisia

Kenya Pipeline coach Paul Gitau (left) and captain Rose Magoi lead the team at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on May 24, 2023 upon arrival from Tunisia where they finished second in the 2023 Africa Clubs Championship.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Pipeline finished second behind winners Zamalek Sporting Club of Egypt while KCB, who were the defending champions,  finished fifth.
  • Kenya Pipeline had bagged bronze last year.

It was pomp and colour at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Wednesday morning as Kenya's representatives at the just concluded African Women’s Clubs Championship in Tunisia, Kenya Pipeline and KCB Women’s Volleyball team jetted back.

Pipeline finished second behind winners Zamalek Sporting Club of Egypt while KCB, who were the defending champions,  finished fifth.

Kenya Pipeline had bagged bronze last year.

Middle blocker Triza Atuka and Naomi Too were feted as the best blocker and best opposite respectively.

Kenya Pipeline General Manager for Strategy and Compliance Zilper Abong’o was at the airport to receive the team as well as former players Esther Jepkosgei and Catherine Wanjiru.

Pipeline coach Paul Gitau said despite having a covenant with the players to reclaim the title they last won in 2005, he said he was satisfied with the second place finish.

“God willing I think next year we will be ripe to reclaim the title. Going forward I want to build a strong team of 14 players that will do duty to this amazing club. I don’t want to comment more on my contract that is ending in August because I believe there will be an avenue for that in coming days ,” said Gitau, who led Pieppeline to the local league title last season.

Pipeline captain Rose Magoi said all was not lost despite not falling at the last hurdle.

“I think we have been rising steadily. In 2021, we finished fifth, last year we emerged third and this year we placed second. I think we are progressing well and hopefully next year we will bring the title home,” said Magoi.

“ It’s been a journey. Sacrifice here and there and I’m glad the hardwork, sacrifices have paid off. Let’s see what the future holds,” said Atuka.

KCB coach Japheth Munala said poor reception cost them the title.

“We had a good run from the pool stage to the knock out stage. My team failed to receive well and you see in volleyball when you fail to receive there is nothing you can do. We have a young squad that I believe when we get it right we will conquer the forthcoming championships,” said Munala, the national women’s volleyball team assistant coach.

At the same time, Malkia Strikers’ Brazilian coach Luizomar de Moura and team manager Roberto “Beto” Opice Neto landed in the countryto continue with the selection process of the provisional squad for the August’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon and qualifiers for next year's Paris Olympic Games.

Moura and Neto were in Tunisia.

The Brazilians will have a chance to pick more players during this weekend’s Kenya Volleyball Federation National League.

“We are here to give a chance to local players who didn’t get chance to participate in the clubs championship. But I must say, setter Esther Mutinda and left attacker Juliana Namutira were from KCB we’re impressive, while the trio of Atuka, left attacker Leonida Kasaya and Libero Aggripina Kundu from Pipeline also stood out," Moura said.

"We have been in contact with Veronica Adhiambo and Sharon Chepchumba who were away in Turkey and Greece respectively but now we will have a one-on-one chat and see how their progression has been,” added Moura.

The Kenyan technical bench was boosted last year by the arrival of the Brazilian coaches in a development partnership between the Kenya Volleyball Federation and FIVB.

KVF Treasurer Kenneth Tonui said the executive will have a meeting later on Wednesday to give the way forward in regards to the training schedule for the national team and the league matches.