Kenya Pipeline head coach Japheth Munala believes his side can replicate and improve on the success of last season as the defending women’s volleyball champions gear up for a grueling 2017 season that kicks off on March 3.
Munala was speaking during a breakfast meeting on Wednesday morning in honour of the team that has been crowned Africa club champions seven times in their history and finished runners-up on several occasions. They won the continental title in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005.
Munala, who joined the side in March 2011, also lauded the players’ loyalty to the club.
“We have steady success in the last couple of years. In 2016, we participated in five tournaments and won three so that is a good return by our book. The team is progressing well and we appreciate the support from the company."
"Some of the players have been approached and offered professional contracts elsewhere but they have chosen to stay with us. This shows great commitment to the club,” he explained.
The current roster has 27 players including five who finished high school in the last two years to formulate the perfect blend of youth and relative experience.
Some of the key players in the squad are; accomplished setter Janet Wanja, current league most valuable player Triza Atuka and national team vice captain Noel Murambi.
Working as a unit
Atuka, who is also the team captain believes it is working as a unit that is behind their success and will be the component that ensures the continuity in their form.
“We are grateful to the club for being with us every step of the way. We promise to do our best as players on the field. We have the best players in the country but it is not just about the individual accolades but working as a team,” Atuka said.
The petroleum transportation company sponsors the team to the tune of Ksh. 18 million annually according to KPC corporate communications manager Jason Nyanchino.
Nyanchino said that the volleyball team has been an epitome of their brand by being a continental success in the sport. He added that the club has transformed the younger players as it is an avenue through which young talent and opportunity meet.
The opening leg of the Kenya Volleyball Federation league is set for March 3-5 in Malaba where Kenya Pipeline will start the defence of their title.
The team will also be in action in the women’s Africa Club Championship in Tunisia from April 5-18 alongside 2016 league runners-up Kenya Prisons.
In the men’s category, Kenya will be represented by Kenya Prisons and General Service Unit in the premier Africa club competition slated for March 15-28.