Makande gymnasium hosts explosive playoffs

By francis marangu
Feb 03, 2017
  • Mercy Wanyama and Samba Mjomba will be two key players for Equity Bank against KPA. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Kenya Ports Authority have a home advantage against Equity Bank who are playing in the final for the first time. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • David Maina, the Equity Bank coach has a simple approach and wants to win at least one match in Mombasa. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Makande Gymnasium in Mombasa will be the focus when the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) men's and women's teams host Co-Operative and Equity Banks.

The gymnasium will host two explosive encounters as the 2016 men’s Premier League and women’s Premier League playoffs finals get underway. KPA will play Co-operative Bank in the men’s final and Equity Bank in the women's final.

Games one and two will be crucial for the dockers who are gunning for a rare double. Equity Bank is the standout of the four finalists.

They are playing in their first final against a former champion and a team that was unbeaten in the  regular. KPA went further to brush away Co-op Bank 3-0 in the semifinal series.

Their opponets Equitry Bank knocked out champions United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) 3-0 on their way to the final.

As he prepares his girls for the final, Equity Bank head coach David Maina knows  the pressure that comes with playing in the final. In 2012, he guided USIU-A in the men’s final losing out to Co-op Bank.

Four years later, he is guiding another side to the final for the first time. His approach is very simple. “We want to win at least a game in Mombasa, if we get two then the better,” Maina told Sports News Arena.

He said the unbeaten record that KPA boasts of has no bearing to the final since it's a whole different ball game. “They are a good team, they have been there for a long time and won the title many times but we will fight in every game.”

On target

Last season, Equity Bank fell out in the semifinals to USIU-A. Having made it to the final in their second season, Maina notes that they are within their targets for the season. “Our target was not only to be in the final but to win. We want to win the title.”

Mercy Wanyama, Samba Mjomba and Hilda Indasi represented KPA at the continental championships in November. They might have a few tricks on their opponents play.

Whether that will help or not, they remain to be very vital players for Equity in the final. Silalei Shani is as well a dependable player for the bankers.

The men’s final will be a meeting of two familiar foes. KPA lost 0-3 to Co-op Bank in the 2013 final and it could be payback time. Any team that wins the two games in Mombasa will have a huge advantage.

In the regular season, Co-op Bank finished top while KPA was the last qualifier at sixth. Ahead of the playoffs, KPA head coach Anthony Ojukwu said his team will be the surprise package despite struggling in the regular season.

They managed to beat USIU-A in the quarterfinals and Ulinzi Warriors in the semifinals. Their biggest hurdle now remains to be Co-op Bank. The bankers are also angling to reclaim the title they relinquished in 2014 after winning in four straight years.

Victor Bosire and Evans Letting will be the key players for KPA while Job Byron and James Mwangi will be standouts for Co-op Bank.