What you need to know:
- As we head to the General Elections next week, I urge you to vote wisely at all levels and maintain peace after the polls.
- We hope that the next government will put more money into sports and religiously support volleyball, a sport that has consistently put Kenya on the global and continental map.
For the umpteenth time, General Service Unit (GSU) were crowned men’s national volleyball league champions after winning the end of season play-offs last weekend.
The paramillitary outfit did it in style, bagging a maximum nine points against tough opposition in the form of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Prisons and TrailBlazers.
It was their fifth title in a row and a record-extending 15th in the history of the league.
But even as GSU confirmed their status as the local volleyball giants there was a significant shift in the status quo as KPA finished second while TrailBlazers upset Kenya Prisons 3-0 to seal third place.
Prisons, who last won the league title in 2016, have often played second fiddle to GSU with their rivalry spicing up the league over the past decade but this season they have found the going tough.
They had to wait until the last leg of the regular season to qualify for the play-offs.
It goes to show that the standards of men’s volleyball have gone a notch higher with another regular participant in the play-offs, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) also being locked out.
The emergence of TrailBlazers this season has brought to the fore players like libero James Mutero and middle blocker Dominic Chelule.
The pair has stood out for the debutants this season and national team head coach Gideon Tarus should have taken note with two crucial assignments coming up next year.
Wafalme Stars are expected to feature in the 2023 African Games qualifiers as well as the Africa Nations Championship and expectation among volleyball fans is high after the quality display at the play-offs.
Kenya finished ninth at the last edition in Rwanda and it is high time Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) starts early preparations for the two competitions which would place Kenya firmly on the continental map as far as men’s volleyball is concerned.
As witnessed during the play-offs, there is a rich pool of youth and experience that Tarus can tap into to form a formidable side.
Emerging stars like middle blocker Shadrack Misiko has finally come of age and GSU have finally made peace with the early retirement of Cornelius “Cena” Lagat.
The experienced David Thuita has defied age and continues to make KPA tick with his sublime reception and back court cover.
Setter Elijah Bosire of KPA showed another side of his game with his tricky services coming in handy for the Dockers and could act as a good cover for Brian Melly at the national team.
Overall, the local league is brimming with talent and it’s high time the federation thinks of monthly or weekly training camps for the men’s side to stand a chance at the continental stage.
Rwanda 2021 was an eye opener and with better preparation qualifying for Accra 2023 African Games and a podium finish at the Africa Nations Championship are all within reach.
As we head to the General Elections next week, I urge you to vote wisely at all levels and maintain peace after the polls.
We hope that the next government will put more money into sports and religiously support volleyball, a sport that has consistently put Kenya on the global and continental map.