GSU overpower KPA to win 2021/22 men’s title
General Service Unit (GSU) are the 2021/22 Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) Men's League champions; this after the paramilitary outfit defeated Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) 3:1 in a thrilling playoff decider played at the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
The high profile encounter lived up to its billing with both teams going for the jugular from the first whistle but it was GSU who showed the coolest of nerves to ultimately prevail 27:25, 20:25, 27:25, 25:23 and win an unprecedented 15th league title.
Gideon Tarus' men have now won the men's top tier division for a sixth successive season and will again represent the country on the continental stage at next year's Africa Club Championships.
KPA's search for a first league crown will have to go on but it is not all heartbreak for Sammy Mulinge's side who will join GSU on the continental stage after finishing second in the playoffs.
In another playoff game played on Sunday at the same venue, five time champions Kenya Prisons lost 3:0 to league newbies Trailblazers to conclude a lackluster showing in the post-season.
Both GSU and KPA finished tied on 40 points at the top of the regular season and knew going into the playoffs that the encounter between them would decide the season. And so the game would begin with no team holding anything back.
At a packed and loud Nyayo Staadium indoor arena, GSU drew first blood in the opening set and raced to a 4-1 lead with middle blockers Simeon Kipkorir and Emmanuel Kogo the catalysts. KPA would fight back to tie the game at 12:12 and then again at 19:19 with the impressive Dennis Omollo as well as Lewis Ogutu delivering with some well timed spikes.
Poor service and untimely blocks would allow KPA sail to a 23:20 lead forcing GSU to make a change and bring on Bonfentry Wekesa for the largely ineffective Naftali Chumba as well as Joshua Kimaru.
The changes would spur GSU on as they clawed their way back to win the set 27:25. Wekesa would maintain on the court for the remainder of the game as his presence gave crowd favourite Abiud Chirchir the needed space to deliver his thunderous spikes. This however is after KPA had taken the second set by over powering their opponents with some well timed blocks from George Okoro and Sammy Ngeny.
GSU would reign supreme in the third and in the fourth sets but it is KPA who shot themselves in the foot to hand GSU the title after the game looked like it would be decided in five.
Needing a point to draw level at 24:24, KPA had the ball in their court but were unable to utilise the possession with middle blocker Ogutu directing his spike outside of bounds with everyone on the opposite side of the net well beaten.
And thus is how it would end with GSU finishing top with nine points from three wins. KPA end the post-season in second place with five points, one point above Trailblazers who performed admirably in their first season in the top flight. Prisons finish bottom without a point.