KHU revert to 'abandoned' pool format

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jun 30, 2016
  • Nixon Nyangaga, has parted ways with Tony Nyukuri, his captain at Green Sharks and signed two players from USIU-A. Nyukuri has joined Butali Sugar Warriors.

It is barely two year since the Kenya Hockey Union changed the format of the men’s Premier League to a straight league and experimented with a pool format.

They have 'again' reverted to the pools format this season which starts at the weekend.

According to the 2016 fixtures which were released this week, 15 teams have been grouped in two pools.

Two years ago, KHU abandoned the league and adopted a tournament system in what they termed as a 'temporary’ move aimed at ‘recouping the lost time’ after the league failed to start on time due to a number of factors.

The change didn’t go well with the clubs who argued they played fewer matches in comparison to the league format.

Confirming this development, Jane Nyamongo, the KHU fixtures secretary explained said they have opted to revert to the pool system so as to save time as they thought the 2015 season was too long.

“We want to have a short season unlike last year where the season ran for over 12 months. As much as we would like each team to play each other, it was resolved that playing in pools was the best way,” Nyamongo stated.

But unlike in 2014 when the format was crafted in such a way that teams in the Premier and the National league teams were divided into two pools with the top two in each pool progressing to the playoffs, this year only Premier league team sides have been pooled.

Defending champions Butali Sugar Warriors top Pool A with Kenya Police heading Pool B. Two new teams, Bay Club and Chase Sailors have been included after Mvita XI and Mombasa Sports Club were relegated at the end of last season.

Other teams in Pool A are United States International University Africa (USIU-A), Strathmore University, Sikh Union Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Parklands and Bay Club.

Teams in Pool B are Kenya Police, Park Road, Green Sharks, Wazalendo, Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCA-U), Western Jaguars and Chase Sailors. 

Butali start league defense

Butali will open their league campaign on Saturday at City Park against Kenyatta University while Kenya Police face Wazalendo on Sunday.

Debutants Chase Sailors will open their campaign at top flight hockey against KCA-U on Saturday. On Sunday, another Premier League match will see Sikh Union Nairobi battling it out with Strathmore University. 

There are 11 teams in the men's National League.

The women's National League has a new team, Amira Sailors who replace Mombasa Sports Club. In this category, multiple champions Telkom Orange open their campaign for another title for the 12th year against Kenyatta University on Saturday.

On Sunday, last season's runners up Sliders welcome Daystar University.

Elsewhere, Tony Nyukuri’s failure to win a silverware in his 10-years was a major factor on his move to league champions Butali Sugar Warriors.

Speaking to Sports News Arena, Nyukuri explained he left his longtime club Green Sharks for Butali Warriors to realise is dream of a possible first league title.

“I have been at Green Sharks for 10 years and I think I have done what I could have done at the club but one thing that I failed to do it to lift the league title,” Nyukuri sstated. Before moving to his new cub, Nyukuri was the captain of Green Sarks.

At Green Sharks, the former captain acknowledged he had played with a good and talented side. “I feel at Butali I will have a good chance of winning a league title. I don’t mean Butali will obviously win the league once again but they have a stronger chance because of the squad they have,” he said.

Nyukuri has been joined at Butali by Lawrence Okubasu who played for  USIU-A.

Happy coach

Butali Sugar Warriors coach Cliff Okello is happy with the two signings. The two are experienced and have great history because of their international experience and they have been regular and top performers in the league.

"So they are players who will absolutely give us what we want for our campaign,” Okello said.

Green Sharks have replaced Nyukuri with Alex Kubasu and Isaac Kamau from USIU-A. Confirming the signing of the two players, Green Sharks coach Nixon Nyanganga said they will bring up a lot of experience.

“Securing such talents like Kubasu and Kamau is an added bonus for us as we seek to replace players that we have lost and others that might opt to leave the club. They have shown talent recently and it's my hope that they will shine,” Nyanganga said.

Sikh Union Nairobi has also gone shopping by acquiring the services of Francis Eshikuri from Chase Sailors. Sikh Union will be second side Eshikuri will be playing for in two seasons after he moved to from Kenya Police.

KHU Fixtures

Saturday, July 2: Men's Premier League - Butali Sugar Warriors v Kenyatta University (4 p.m.), KCA-U vs Chase Sailors (6 p.m.); National Men - Thika Rovers vs Technical University (2 p.m.). Women's  League: Telkom Orange vs Kenyatta University.

Sunday, July 3: Men’s Premier League - Kenya Police v Wazalendo (1 p.m.), Sikh Union Nairobi v Strathmore University (3 p.m.); National Men: Wazalendo Youth v Multi Media (11 p.m); Women's  League - Sliders v Daystar University.

All matches at City Park Stadium.