Volleyball: Race for play-off slots hots up

General Service Unit 

General Service Unit players celebrate a point against TrailBlazers during their Kenya Volleyball Federation National League match at Nyayo National Stadium on June 26, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Equity captain Wilson Cheruiyot bemoaned the failure by the team to book a play-offs slot.
  • “Again we will not compete in the last four. It’s painful. Looking at it now, there are matches that we couldn’t have really lost. And also giving away sets to some teams has cost us. We hope we will change the tide next season,” said the middle blocker.

For the first time in recent times, the race for the Kenya Volleyball Federation men's National League play-offs will g down to the wire.

The top four teams in both genders at the completion of the regular season proceed to the play-offs.

With the completion of the sixth leg over the weekend at the Nyayo National stadium in Nairobi, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) top the standings with 34 points from 13 matches, while defending champions General Service Unit (GSU) and their local nemesis Kenya Prisons are joint second with 28 points from 11 matches in the 15-team league.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) are fourth with 27 points from 13 matches, Kenya Forest Service are fifth with 26 points from 12 matches, while newcomers TrailBlazers are sixth with 25 points from 11 matches.

The final leg serves off Thursday at the Nyayo Stadium with the play-offs scheduled for mid-next month at a yet to be decided venue.

Former national team captain and Prisons technical official, Ibrahim Odour welcomed the development, saying the current situation goes to show that the men’s competition is coming of age.

“This year’s top four teams are not cast on stone. Teams will have to dig deep to qualify. While we may try and do the math, and have a slight idea who are favorites, one thing I’m not sure is the placement ,” said Odour, who doubles up as a men’s beach volleyball player.

“But again, if you look at the bigger picture, the national team will have healthy competition and thus I’m happy this is happening now,” he added.

GSU’s experienced left attacker David Kirwa said the many teams fighting for the play-offs, the merrier.

“Gone are days when teams to play in the play-offs would have been known by the end of fifth leg. For now, while we might have an idea, we really don’t know in which order, which is interesting,” said Kirwa.

There were noticeable upsets over the weekend. GSU, who were yet to lose a match in the regular season since 2014 when they fell to Kenya Prisons 3-2, were walloped by KPA 3-0.

KPA,,who have been on rise, were shocked by an inconsistent Prisons 3-1.
Once again, efforts by Equity Bank to qualify for the play -offs were swept aside.

The bankers are seventh with 23 points from 12 matches. Equity have thrice fallen short of the play-offs finishing fifth.

Equity captain Wilson Cheruiyot bemoaned the failure by the team to book a play-offs slot.

“Again we will not compete in the last four. It’s painful. Looking at it now, there are matches that we couldn’t have really lost. And also giving away sets to some teams has cost us. We hope we will change the tide next season,” said the middle blocker.

At the bottom end, Vihiga County are second from bottom with three points from nine matches, while Central Prisons are pegged bottom winless from nine matches.

Meanwhile, former national team player Benard Musumba has thrown his hat in the ring for the treasurer's position in the forthcoming national elections.

”Having served as player in local clubs and national team for several years, I hereby declare to vie and serve in the office of treasurer in the national office. We need to bring professionalism in our loving sport," he said.

Musumba will come up against Equity Bank team manager Nicholas Bitok in the July 30 polls.

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