Kenya Prisons coach David Lung’aho admits his team are under pressure to overcome the challenge of Turkey’s Fernerbahce on Wednesday after losing to Lancheras de Catano of Puerto Rico in the first tie on Saturday.
Prisons must beat Fernerbahce to advance and Lung’aho is still hopeful that his amateur players can jump the imposing professionalism obstacle posed by the defending champions.
Fernerbahce’s line-up boasts of a galaxy of stars including Brazil Olympian Paula Peguebo and Berenika Okuniewoska while all Prisons players are amateurs.
“Our match with Fernerbahce will be much tougher than the first one and we’re preparing the girls both physically and mentally in readiness for the crucial encounter,” he said.
The veteran coach said he is likely to field first timers when they play Fernerbahce for the purpose of exposure.
“I was very impressed with the game displayed by substitutes Salome Wanjala and Loise Tarus when they replaced Jane Wacu and Everline Makuto,” he said.
Their good show was a clear indication that there is massive talent at Prisons,” he said.
“My plan is to give more players opportunity to play in remaining match and get a feel of world-class volleyball.
“Every time Salome and Tarus came in they changed the flow of the game which was very impressive,” said the coach.
Tarus came in when Makuto failed to click and she was outstanding in jump service, which earned her several points, the first an ace.
Wanjala saved the situation for Prisons when Wacu who is one of the best setters in Africa completely failed to function leaving her team helpless.
Jane Chepkemboi, Dorcas Jepleting and Joan Chelagat are the players Lung’aho didn’t parade against Catano.
Lung’aho pointed that lack of confidence and self-believe among players was the main undoing when they played Catano.
“The girls played very well because all the sets were very close but lack of confidence let them down,” he said.
Captain Diana Khisa said the chapter was not closed yet and they were looking forward to improved performance against Fernerbahce.
“People expected us to beat Catano and we failed but you never know because Fernerbahce may be our victims,” she said.
Khisa assured that team mates were still hopeful of achieving their first victory outside Africa by overcoming Fernerbahce.
“We were got off guards by Catano and we’re now working on small mistakes we committed as we prepare for the crucial match ahead,” she said.
Fenerbahçe was the first Turkish women’s volleyball team, founded by Fenerbahce Sports Club in 1928. The team’s captain was Sabiha Rifat Gürayman, Turkey’s first woman engineer.
The original club was closed down due to lack of competition, but the team was re-founded in 1954 and won eight Turkish championships between 1956 and 1973.
The team reached a low-ebb in the late 1990s, being relegated the second division following the 1995-1996 season.
By Oscar Pilipili, The Standard