Sharpened Blades await Co-Op Bank

By francis marangu
May 20, 2017
  • Strathmore University Blades face Co-Operative Bank who had a big win against KPA last weekend. (SNA. File Photo)

  • Lions are still looking for their first win in the league. (SNA. File Photo)

  • Brigit Nanzala is one of the key players for KPA who face USIU-A. (SNA. File Photo)

Tony Ochieng, the Strathmore University Blades head coach will be looking to cause an upset against Co-operative Bank when they clash in the men’s Premier League on Saturday.

Out of six games played, Strathmore have lost to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) only and will be going for their sixth win. The bankers have also lost once to Ulinzi Warriors.

Having seen off the likes of Zetech University, Trailblazers, Lions and Umoja, Ochieng says managing one team is making it easier. He is targeting a top four finish this year at the minimum.

“One way of achieving that is depth . I combined the two teams to have a formidable and strong side that could challenge seasoned teams,” he observed.

“This has given more options to the current personnel I have and they are all aware of their roles.”

Co-op Bank are coming to the game on the back of a big win against KPA in Mombasa.

After this weekend, Strathmore will play against Equity Bank and then Ulinzi Warriors making it for a tough three-game sequence for the students.

But, that does not concern Ochieng a lot as he maintains his players are up to the task. “Conditioning has helped a lot because players are mentally fit and ready for any big game. The team is well prepared.”

Good dunks

James Mwangi (Co-op Bank) and Emmanuel Soja (Strathmore) are two players with good dunks in the league. They can bring the gymnasium to life with their play.

Co-op Bank should expect a fast game from Strathmore and they have the arsenal to hit back. Job Byron and Titus Musembi are capable of ensuring the bankers match their opponents when it comes to a fast game.

Strathmore also does not expect Co-op Bank to take it slow. “Co-op Bank have good players and they are good in transition. Their guards are good on shots but we too have young and quick players who can contain them,” Ochieng said.

“We shall try and avoid back-to-back baskets knowing we are playing them at home.”

To walk away with a win, Ochieng says his players have to remain focused for the entire 40 minutes.

There will be a “Thika Road derby” as Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) meets Lions on Saturday.

Both teams are winless and this will be the opportunity for any to get a first victory. Point guard Collins Odhiambo who is now at KCA-U will face his former side Lions, having played for them last season.

Coming from a home defeat last weekend, KPA will be in Nairobi to play United States International University - Africa (USIU-A) on Saturday and Umoja on Sunday.

Okello joined Ulinzi

They lost home and away to USIU-A last season and their player Anthony Okello has joined Ulinzi.

On Sunday, USIU-A will play Equity Bank. Unbeaten Ulinzi will play Zetech University and Trailblazers.

In the women’s Premier League, KPA will on Sunday play a weakened USIU-A side who lost to Kenyatta University last weekend. Earlier, USIU-A lost to debutants Zetech University.

KPA are looking sharper with new signings Georgia Adhiambo and Bridgit Nanzala making vital contribution to their season so far. Adhiambo played for USIU-A until the end of last season when she left.

On the same day, champions Equity Bank will tackle Co-operative Bank while Strathmore University will play Storms on Saturday.

Weekend fixtures

Saturday: Egerton University vs MKU Thika (Egerton, 9 a.m.), Nakuru Club vs World Hope (Menengai High School, 10:30 a.m.), Masaku Sparks vs Gladiators (Nyayo gymnasium, 8:30 a.m.), Strathmore University vs Storms (10 a.m.), KCA-U vs Lions (11:30), Co-op Bank vs Blades (1 p.m.), Ulinzi Warriors vs Trailblazers (2:30), USIU Tigers vs KPA (4 p.m.), ANU vs JKUAT (Upper Hill, 10 a.m.), MKU Thika vs KDF Morans (11:30), Kenyatta Pirates vs Zetech University (1 p.m.), Upper Hill vs KAA (2:30), ANU vs Terror (4 p.m.), Nebulas vs Barclays Bank (Mukumu Boys, 10 a.m.).

Sunday: Eldonets vs World Hope (UG Grounds, 10 a.m.), Masaku Sparks vs ANU (Upper Hill, 8:30 a.m.), ANU vs Strathmore University (10 a.m.), KCA-U vs JKUAT (11:30), MKU Thika vs Little Prince (1 p.m.), KDF Morans vs JKUAT (2:30), Equity Bank Hawks vs Co-op Bank (Nyayo gymnasium, 8:30 a.m.), USIU-A Flames vs KPA (10 a.m.), 4-Christ vs EMYBA (11:30), USIU-A Tigers vs Equity Bank (1 p.m.), Umoja vs KPA (2:30), Ulinzi Warriors vs Zetech University (4 p.m.).