• Key players return to boost Pipeline's African title hopes

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  • Kenya Pipeline players react after a past league match.(Photo:File)Kenya Pipeline players react after a past league match.(Photo:File)
Apr 26, 2012-

Asha Makuto fractured her leg at the 2011 Africa Volleyball club championship during the final match against local rivals Kenya Prison an injury that she believes cost her team the title and has kept her out of action for close to a year.

But Makuto is back in training with her team and will be available for selection when Josephat Munala names the Kenya Pipeline's final squad that will compete at the games set for next month.

Pipeline were weakened not only with the absence of Makuto but also Rhoda Liali who fractured her arm and their return is widely expected to boost Pipeline’s chances of winning the continental cup.

" It was a painful loss but I believe we can win that title this year. Our target is Doha (World cup), we also want to go and see how it feels to play in world cup, the squad is full, nothing will deter us from lifting it this year," Makuto told sportsnewsarena.com at the team's residential camp at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Besides the duo Pipeline has also seen the return of lanky right attacker, Esther Wangeci, Emily Chemutai and Lucy Chege for the Africa club event that begins May 10 in Nairobi.

Wangeci who put a good performance during the 2012 national play-off sprained her left ankle in Algeria during the Olympics qualifiers while Chemutai sustained a leg injury in a league match held in Eldoret while Chege has been nursing a ligament injury.

Indeed the rescheduling of the tournament date from April to May by the Confederation of Africa Volleyball Federation CAVB was a blessing in disguise for Munala injury hit squad.

" I would have played without most of these (injured) players but now they are all available and I think I'm the biggest beneficiary for the change of dates.

No one is assured of a position and whoever proves to be better stands a chance," said the jolly coach as he took his team through the paces at the Kasarani Gymnasium.

Other players that Munala will be banking on are the experienced libero Mildred Odwako and on form Kenyan international setter Janet Wanja.

So far over 18 teams have confirmed their participation in the games that will be held in Kenya for the second time in a row and are expected to give the local teams- defending champion Kenya Prison, Pipeline and Kenya Commercial bank (KCB) a hard time before their home fans.

While locally the biggest threat is Prisons, Munala however feels Tunisia who has not been featuring in top volleyball in the recent past may pull a surprise even though they are coming as the under dogs.

"Tunisia is rising and no one really knows how they play, they may be the tournament's surprise.”



Elvince Joshua

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