Saturday, December 29, 2012

Prisons jail their African rivals but remain behind global bars

Mohammed Amin | NATION Kenya Prisons volleyball team player Jane Wacu with both the Africa Clubs Cup trophy and best setter’s trophy soon after her team beat arch-rivals Kenya Pipeline in the final of the African tournament at the Moi International Sports Centre on May 20, 2012. It was another great year for the Prisons team.

Mohammed Amin | NATION Kenya Prisons volleyball team player Jane Wacu with both the Africa Clubs Cup trophy and best setter’s trophy soon after her team beat arch-rivals Kenya Pipeline in the final of the African tournament at the Moi International Sports Centre on May 20, 2012. It was another great year for the Prisons team. 

The year 2012 will go down in history as one of the most exciting for Kenyan volleyball, and especially for the Kenya Prisons teams that reigned supreme locally, with the women’s side extending their continental reign.

The rich reservoir of talent that is the western region continued to churn out stars through Malava Girls and Cheptil Boys who dominated both the Kenya and East Africa schools championships.

All-round display

In May, in what was a repeat of the 2011 final, Kenya Prisons women’s team and Kenya champions Kenya Pipeline faced-off again in the Africa Clubs Cup Championship.

Prisons staged a stupendous all-round display, beating Pipeline in straight sets of 25-20, 27-25, 25-16 to win their fourth continental diadem and earn a ticket for their third World Clubs Cup Championships.

Sweet revenge

It was sweet revenge for Prisons who had suffered defeat at the hands of Pipeline to relinquish the national league title last year.

The feat saw Prisons accomplish a successive hat-trick of the continental titles, having won the championships in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Prisons also scooped three awards, besides being crowned the champions, with Elizabeth Wanyama voted the best receiver while Braxicides Agala and Jane Wacu won the best attacker’s and setter’s trophies respectively.

Voted best libero

Pipeline’s Mildred Odwako’s exemplary performance in the championships was also recognized when she was voted the best libero while her team-mate, Roseline Odhiambo, went home with the best server’s award.

Madagascar’s Stef Auto’s Rouboni Melisa was voted the best blocker while Rwandan rising star, Isabayo Regine, who gave opponents a hard time in their matches, was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament.

Prisons then headed for the third FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in Doha, Qatar, with high hopes after their previous appearances in 2010 and 2011.

However, they lost their two opening matches 1-3 and 0-3 against Lancheras de Cataño Voleibol Club of Puerto Rico and European champions Fenerbahçe of Turkey.

Brazilians Sollys Nestlé Osasco outclassed Rabita Baku from Azerbaijan in 3-0 sets to clinch the world title as Fenerbahçe edged out Lancheras de Cataño 3-0 to claim bronze in the play-off.

Reclaim national title

With the experience from the World Club, Prisons then staged an all-round display, crushing Kenya Pipeline in 3-0 sets to reclaim the women’s national volleyball title.

Prisons set the Moi International Sports Centre alight with their explosive services, attacks and blocking, tearing apart the defending champions 25-17, 25-15, 25-19 for the crown.

It was a magnificent achievement for a side that was formed in 2006, having won the national league title in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

Prisons were simply the better and best prepared side with solid serves from Praxidis Agala, Mercy Moim, skipper Diana Khisa and Dorcas Jepleting to dismantle wobbly Pipeline reception.

Everline Makuto’s astute high and powerful jumps spiced up by lethal Moim and lanky Lydia Maiyo attacks completely brought out Pipeline from the game.

Pipeline was completely different from the side that smoked out Prisons 3-1 to dethrone them the title last year.

The victory saw Prisons complete a rare record of winning all their 55 matches this season with a total of 165 sets against five stretching to the Africa Club Championship where they didn’t lose a set.