Kenya Prisons women’s team will be without influential middle blocker Brackcides Agala when they take on Kenya Pipeline during the third leg of Kenya volleyball Federation (KVF) National League at the Nyayo National Stadium Indoor Arena, Nairobi on Friday.
Agala, who is predominantly a centre player, has been deployed as a left attacker thanks to her mastery in reception in the last few matches. She is away on personal commitments.
In Agala’s absence, Prisons coach Josp Barasa is likely to rely on hard-hitting Pamela Masaisai, on-form Yvonne Wavinya and Meldine Sande to do duty in that department.
Barasa said he expects a good match.
“Agala is the team’s captain and the reigning KVF Most Valuable Player and that shows her pedigree. We will miss her services but we are ready for the clash. We will give our best and hopefully the results will favour us. The players are in high spirits,” said Barasa, who doubles up as the national women’s team second assistant coach.
With the Covid-19 restrictions forcing KVF to bar fans from the venue, the match might not be as charged as past meetings between the two rivals, but a lot is at stake for both sides.
Both teams lost key players to KCB at the beginning of last season which weakened their squads.
National team players Edith Wisa and Mercy Moim left Prisons for the bankers, while Sharon Chepchumba joined Violet Makuto, Leonida Kasaya and Noel Murambi in their exodus to KCB from Pipeline.
Prisons are tied at the top of the standings with KCB on nine points, although the Wardresses, who are unbeaten this term, have a game in hand.
The oilers, who occupy third place with six points from three matches, are keen to recover from their 3-1 loss to KCB. A win for either side will move them closer to the play-offs.
Pipeline and fourth-placed DCI have six points from three matches but the oilers have a set ratio advantage.
Pipeline coach Paul Gitau remained cautious ahead of the clash.
“We will approach the tie like any other match. We haven’t seen them (Prisons) play and therefore we don’t know what to expect from them but we just want to go there with an open mind and have a good match,” said Gitau.
When asked whether fit-again middle blocker Trizah Atuka will be fielded, Gitau simply said: “No comment.”
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Atuka has missed Pipeline’s opening three matches of the season against Nairobi Water, Nairobi Prisons and KCB.
Meanwhile, the men’s league matches have been shelved to pave way for teams that will compete in the African Clubs Championship next month in Sousse, Tunisia to prepare.
The three are General Service Unit, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Prisons who booked slots for annual event after finishing first, second and third respectively during the 2019 national playoffs.
The African event is set for April 16-28.
Kenya Defence Forces v DCI (9am)
KCB v Nairobi Prisons (11am)
KDF v Nairobi Water (1pm)
Kenya Prisons v Kenya Pipeline (3pm)