Equity Bank men’s team complicated their chances of featuring in this season’s Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) league playoffs in their debut season as they lost two matches, to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), during the penultimate leg hosted by Makueni County at Wote.
The bankers were first up against KPA with the two sides intend on getting the better of each other when the match threw off. However, the bankers could not match KPA’s brilliance on the court as they trailed in the first and second sets for 25- 22 and 25-17 outcomes.
The Jeremiah Mukopi-coached side attempted an unsuccessful comeback in the third set, assuming the lead at nine points to KPA’s seven. However, they crumbled under pressure, their main undoing being poor service to lose the third set 25-23.Against KDF, the Bankers picked the third set for the match to end 3-1 (25- 17, 25-19, 23-25, 25-17) in favour of the soldiers.
“It is not yet over as we have three more matches to play in the remaining leg and our opponents have fixtures to honour too. We had a game plan to take the league one match at a time and I am proud of what the players have achieved in our debut season. We keep the spirit going and if we make it to the playoffs, it will be a bonus to our achievements so far. We have picked valuable lessons from the three losses we have suffered so far and we can only keep improving,” said Equity team manager Nicholas Bitok.
On their part, KDF were one of the biggest gainers in this leg as they bagged nine points from the 3-1 Equity win, a 3-0 win against Kahawa Garrison and three more points without breaking a sweat thanks to the no-show Bungoma County.
“We are sure of a playoff position and we will embark on preparations for the same immediately. Equity were the only impendiment to our return to the playoffs after missing out last year,” said KDF TM Alfred Ruto.
He added, “Back court defence and poor service cost us the chance to be in the playoffs last year. We have since worked on that and with the squad I have, that has a mix of youth and experience, we will be in the title contention.”Meanwhile, defending champion General Service Unit (GSU) have already booked their playoff slot as they remain unbeaten. Wins for KPA KDF inch the two sides closer to coveted playoffs where they will join Kenya Prisons who, on paper, have already qualified.
As league action came to a close Friday, the stage was set for the two-day Makueni County KVF Open Tournament that brings together league teams, schools, universities and self-surporting clubs to battle for bragging rights in the various categories.