Butali without Aura for three months

By ronnie evans
May 18, 2017
  • Zack Aura will be out for three months because of work commitments. (SNA. File Photo)

Butali Sugar Warriors’ resurgence has been dealt a blow with the absence of two key players when they play to back Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League matches at the City Park Stadium.

The 2015 league champions will be without pivotal forward Zack Aura and one of their mercurial scorers Emmanuel Simiyu for their upcoming matches against university sides at the weekend.

They host the United States International University - Africa on Friday evening before tackling Kenyatta University on Saturday.

According to Butali Sugar coach Godfrey Wakachunga, Aura will be out for three months because of work commitments while Simiyu has disciplinary issues.

He was suspended indefinitely by KHU following an incident where he damaged property at the City Park stadium earlier this month. This was in reaction after he was carded. He will be ineligible to play until the league disciplinary board determines the case.

Wakachunga remains optimistic they can still get the job done. “The shape of the team is generally fine apart from the few absentees. We realised that we lost tactical discipline towards the end of the last two quarters against Sikh Union.”

"As a result we have been working on endurance. USIU-A is our bogey team because our past encounters against them have been closely contested. We are giving them the respect they deserve but at the same time aim for a victory,” Wakachunga added.

Kuloba returns

There is reprieve for the side who will finally welcome back Derrick Kuloba. He has missed the last three matches and was widely tipped to be back in their last match against Sikh Union, Nairobi.

USIU-A coach Tom Olal hopes his team can shake off the inactivity after the students only just returned to action following school holidays which prevented them from playing league matches. They drew 0-0 against Strathmore University in the last match.

“We have tried to maintain the training schedule although not all players have been available. I believe that the players were keeping fit. I expect my boys to play with maximum focus,” Olal said.

The students have had an indifferent campaign, only winning one of the four matches. They are 12th on the log and Olal stated that he will maintain a lion’s share of the team that faced Strathmore University.

Kenyan International goalkeeper Linus Sang and defender Samson Ratich will the key men according to Olal who aims for a formidable defensive performance to counter the ultra-attacking nature of Butali Sugar.

League leaders Kenya Police will be in action against Sikh Union, Nairobi and coach Patrick Mugambi is targeting to get maximum points in order to stretch their lead at the top.

He confirmed to SNA on Thursday that attacker Moses Cheplaiti is sidelined with a knee injury. However, captain Oliver Echenje is set to return to the side after missing their 4-0 win over Western Jaguars.

Fixtures

Friday: USIU-A v Butali Sugar (6 p.m.) - Premier League Men.

Saturday: Multimedia University v Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (12 p.m.), Youngstars v Kabarak University (3 p.m., Kisumu), Mvita XI v Gorilla (4 p.m, Mombasa) - National League; Vikings v USIU-A (2 p.m.) - Premier League Women; Strathmore University v Chase Sailors (4 p.m.), Butali Sugar v Kenyatta University (6 p.m.) - Premier League Men.  

Sunday: Bay Club v Kabarak University (9 a.m., Kisumu), Park Road Tigers v Impala (11 a.m.) - National League; Chase Amira v Kenyatta University (9 a.m.) - Premier League Women; Kenya Police v Sikh Union, Nairobi (1 p.m.), Green Sharks v Nakuru (3 p.m.) - Premier League Men; USIU-A v Sliders (5 a.m.) -  Premier League Women.