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Prisons volleyball team reclaim African crown to book Qatar return
Prisons captured their second consecutive African Women's Club Championship by defeating their arch-rivals Pipeline in straight sets 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-22) at Nazarene University Hall in Nairobi on Saturday – booking in the process their place in the FIVB Women's Club World Championship in Doha for a second year running.
Pipeline suffered an early setback with an injury to attacker Asha Makuto in the first set and they proved unable to prevent a repeat of last year's final loss to the same opponents in front of a capacity crowd of 3,000 spectators. For Prisons, the victory followed their previous continental successes in 2008 and 2010 and was even more emphatic than their 3-1 final triumph in Mauritius 12 months ago. Al Ahly of Egypt secured the bronze medal, meanwhile, after they recovered from dropping the first set to overcome Cameroon’s Injs 3-1 (17-25, 25-22, 25-21, 26-24).
The other ranking positions had been determined by the classification matches on Friday where Water Sport of Ethiopia claimed their best-ever finish by outclassing Jos South of Nigeria to finish fifth – two places higher than in 2009. Bejaia of Algeria finished seventh after the sudden withdrawal of opponents Revenue Authority for political causes back in their native Rwanda. Efoulan took ninth place ahead of St Denis, while Naceria of Algeria claimed 11th spot at the expense of Kenya's KCB, who recorded their worst-ever finish since their first participation in 1995. Finally, Kutlwano of Botswana beat Jeshi Stars of Tanzania to finish 13th, while Burundi's Les As of Burundi ended up rock bottom.
Prisons outclassed their compatriots in a final lasting 76 minutes. After a minute's silence to mark the death of the CAVB Referee Commission secretary, Mohamed Saidone of Algeria, the match began with some long rallies and spirited volleyball from both sides.
Pipeline, with the quick attacks of Roseline Odhiambo and side attacks of Esther Wangechi, led 8-6 at the First Technical Timeout (FTT) and were still ahead at 13-12 when their wing spiker Makuto suffered a twisted knee that forced her withdrawal. With Pipeline's loss of their star player, Prisons regained their rhythm and began dominating at the net, thanks in no small part to the invention of their setter Jane Wacu, and eventually they claimed the first set 25-22.
Prisons remained on top entering the second set, with the help of opposite Lydia Maiyo and Esther Movombe, but unstoppable hits from Wangechi and Lucy Chege helped Pipeline draw level at 13-13. That was as good as it got for Pipeline, though; Prisons showed a considerable improvement in their backline defence and setter Wacu provided the combinations for her attackers to secure the set at 25-22.
Pipeline's mistakes in the third set allowed the defending champions to move 8-3 in front at the FTT. With middle blocker Joan Kibor presenting a formidable barrier, Prisons stayed ahead at 16-8 and they finished off the match at 25-22 to claim the championship.
Egypt's Al Ahly came back from one set behind to secure a 3-1 victory in a match lasting 122 minutes. Injs began with Ntami Ngon and Roline Tatchou playing prominent roles with their solid blocking and from leading 8-6 at the FTT, the Cameroonian team took over at the net completely. Opposite spiker Nzeko Michelle was sending down razor-sharp hits from position two and it was not long before the first set was theirs at 25-17.
In the second set Ahly changed their libero – Sara Talaat making way for Aya Mahmoud – and they improved their backline defence and blocking through Hagar Badr and Ingy El Shami. The Egyptian side also began to organise their attacks to greater effect through wing spikers Nahla and Sherihan Abdel Kader and went 16-12 up at the STT. Some mistakes in Injs' defence allowed Al Ahly to widen the lead to 22-15 before the Cameroonian side fought back to 22-all. However, it was Al Ahly who won the next critical points to clinch the set.
In the third set Injs got back on top through their fast combinations led by the skilful setter Juliette Asta and they led 16-12 at the STT, yet Al Ahly hit back to move 2-1 in front. With some decent receiving, the Egyptian team then led 8-4 in the fourth set. Injs recorded five successive points but their resurgence did not lost as Al Ahly's defence improved again; they regained the lead at 20-18 and finished off the set as 26-24 winners.
Final and bronze medal results
3-4 Positions: Al Ahly (EGY) v Injs (CMR) 3-1 (17-25, 25-22, 25-21, 26-24)
Final: Pipeline (KEN) v Prisons (KEN) 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-22)
5-6 positions: Water Sport (ETH) v Jos South (NGR) 3-2 (25-19, 18-25, 11-25, 25-16, 15-10)
7-8 positions: Bejaia (ALG) v Revenue Auth (RWA) 3-0 (25-0, 25-0, 25-0)
9-10 positions: St Denis (REU) v Efoulan (CMR) 3-2 (20-25, 13-25, 25-22, 25-12, 15-11)
11-12 Positions: Naceria (ALG) v KCB (KEN) 3-2 (25-18, 25-20, 18-25, 17-25, 15-8)
13-14 Positions: Kutlwano (BOT) v Jeshi Stars (TAN) 3-0 (27-25, 25-20, 25-18)
15 position: Les As (BUR)
1. Prisons (Kenya)
2. Pipeline (Kenya)
3. Al Ahly (Egypt)
4. Injs (Cameroon)
5. Water Sport (Nigeria)
6. Jos South (Nigeria)
7. Bejaia (Algeria)
8. Revenue Authority (Rwanda)
9. Efoulan (Cameroon)
10. St Denis (Reunion)
11. Naceria (Algeria)
12. KCB (Kenya)
13. Kutlwano (Botswana)
14. Jeshi Stars (Tanzania)
15. Les As (Burundi)