Low turnout marked the first leg of the Kenya Volleyball Federation National League that served off on Friday at Ruring’u Stadium in Nyeri.
Only five men's teams out of 12 and three women’s clubs honoured their league matches.
KVF first vice chairman Charles Nyaberi acknowledged it was a disappointing development.
“It was a raw deal to other teams that showed up, fans and officials. However, we hope to tighten the competition rules going forward so that such scenarios don’t pop up again,” said Nyaberi.
In the ladies category, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) team manager Alfred Chedotum defended his side having gone down to Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) 3-0 (25-18, 29-27, 25-14).
“Don’t write us off just yet. Give us time. Five of my players are all drawn from secondary schools but that should not be an excuse. But I know once they grasp our system of play, it will be all rosy. We have previously missed out on the play–offs but this time round we are keen to make the cut. While it’s too early to start thinking about the play-offs, we should cement our foundation,” said Chedotum.
KDF have recruited three middle blockers - Milcent Chepchirchir, Maureen Tarus and Flaina Akula - as well as right attacker Rael Namasaka and left attacker Sylvia Chepkiech.
The match saw the return of setter Veronica Tanui, who was signed from Kenya Pipeline in 2018, having been away on official duties last season.
DCI, who made a debut in play-offs last season, succumbed to champions Kenya Prisons 3-1 (25-12, 25-14, 20-25, 25-18) in their second match of the day.
However, the absence of Ashton and Kenya Commercial Bank who shelved their matches denied the new Kenya Pipeline coach Paul Gitau chance to gauge his youthful side.
Bungoma County were also a no-show at the event.
In the men’s category, Kenya Prisons begun their regular season on a winning note, recording two wins against Equity Bank and league returnees Kenya Service Forest (KFS).
The 2016 champions won against the bankers 3-1 (26-24, 25-17, 22-25, 25-23) and posted a similar result against KFS (25-23, 25-27, 25-15, 25-21).
In other results, newcomers Prisons Rift Valley received a rude welcome to the league thanks to 3-0 (22-26, 18-25, and 21-25) loss to regulars Administration Police (AP).
AP team manager Milcah Kimeu said they are keen to make it to the play-offs this season.
AP finished sixth last year and have since signed setter Mathias Kemboi from Equity and Elish Siret from the University of Nairobi.
“We have put everything in place. In previous editions we have come close but fell by way side, but this time round we are going all the way,” warned Kimeu.