Strathmore in a tough outing against Police

By ronnie evans
May 26, 2017
  • Strathmore University have not replicated last year's form and have a tough test against Kenya Police. (SNA. File Photo)

Kenya Police coach Paul Mugambi insists that Strathmore University’s poor form will count for nothing as the two sides prepare to square off in a high profile Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League at the City Park stadium on Sunday.

The two teams have had contrasting fortunes this season with the students in particular struggling to replicate their title winning form displayed last season. They have just won one of their seven matches played this season.

Their only win was a 2-0 result against Sikh Union, Nairobi in the opening week of the league.

However, Mugambi will not take them lightly even in their current predicament. “Yes they are struggling to win but they are the defending champions so we will take them seriously. They are more than capable of stepping up so we will continue playing by our system of attacking play to unsettle them,” Mugambi said.

The two sides last faced each other in the 2016 men’s playoff semi-finals where the students prevailed on penalty flicks. They eventually went on to lift the title in similar fashion against Butali Sugar Warriors.

Since then, they lost two key players Derrick Kuloba and defender Constant Wakhura who joined Butali Sugar.

“They were very important players but we are more than capable to fill those spaces with the players we have,” Strathmore University coach Meshack Senge said earlier in response to the squad changes.

Moreover, Senge hopes that his team can chalk up a win which he believes will boost the players’ confidence.

Mugambi is set to retain the bulk of the starters that featured in the last two matches. He revealed to SNA that he will stick to his preferred formation of 4-3-3. Martin Agesa will start in goal and will be protected by the central defensive partnership of Robert Masibo and Kennedy Sibweche.

Three prong attack

There will be a three prong attack of Amos Barkibirir, captain Oliver Echenje and Calvins Kanu. Barkibir has stepped up with six goals to be their joint top scorer in the absence of regular Willis Okeyo who has been in Germany since April on a three month stint with club Bad Kreuznach.

Moses Cheplaiti is still sidelined with a knee injury.

Peter Mulowa is set to start in goal for the students while Festus Onyango will lead the offence that also has Fred Oracha whereas captain Francis Kariuki will act as link to the forwards.

In another match, the United States International University-Africa have to navigate through two matches in their bid to get into the top half of the table.

They tackle league strugglers Parklands Sports Club on Friday evening before facing Wazalendo on Sunday.

“We will take one game at a time and hopefully we can secure all the six points on offer because I know we are capable of doing so. It is just a matter of maintaining the focus and going for the early goals which will help the boys play more freely,” USIU-A coach Tom Olal said.

The students are 12th on the log with five points from five matches played. PSC on the other hand is just one of only two sides that are yet to register a single win this season, the other being bottom side Technical University of Kenya.

Fixtures (Venue at City Park Stadium unless stated)

Friday: USIU-A v Parklands Sports Club (6 p.m.) - Premier League Men.

Saturday: Technical University of Kenya v Park Road Badgers (12 p.m.), Wazalendo v Strathmore University (2 p.m.) - Premier League Men; Mombasa Sports Club v University of Nairobi (4 p.m.) - Premier League Women; Kabarak University v Multimedia University (2 p.m, Nakuru) - National League.

Sunday: Multimedia University v Mombasa Sports Club (9 a.m.), Kenyatta University v Vikings (11 a.m.), USIU-A v Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (1 p.m.) - Premier League Women; Nakuru Athletic Club v Butali Sugar Warriors (9 a.m, Nakuru), Strathmore University v Kenya Police (1 p.m.), USIU-A v Wazalendo (3 p.m.) - Premier League Men