Tricky matches for top teams in weekend action

By francis marangu
Jul 19, 2013

There will be significant changes in the log this weekend as top teams in the national classic league’s men and women premier have tricky matches lined up.

Ladies defending champion Eagle Wings will play United States International University- Africa, USIU-A, on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s playoff final.

Their male counterparts Co-operative Bank have a date with Ulinzi Warriors on Saturday. At 19 points, the bankers could forfeit the league’s leadership to second placed Lions who are on 17 points and will play two matches this weekend.

If they beat Kenya Ports Authority, KPA, on Saturday and USIU-A on Sunday and Co-op Bank lose then Lions will take a one point lead. If both Lions and Co-op Bank win their matches, they will be joint leaders on 21 points.

Wings could go joint top with KPA if they beat USIU. KPA, top of the table with 21 points, will not be in action this weekend. Consequently, a win for Wings, who have 19 points, will mean they share the summit but the Dockers will have played one match less.

This will be Wings’ last match before heading to Burundi for the Zone V East and Central Club Championships slated for August 5-11 where they will seek to defend their title.

USIU will also be travelling for the tournament by the virtue of finishing runners up last season. In last year’s playoffs final, Wings beat USIU 2-0 to retain their title and this match could be a tough one as well.

Wings have been consistent this season despite losing some of its key players to NBA side Ulinzi. International players Silalei Shani, Samba Mjomba and Angela Akoth are some of the big names set to line up against USIU.

The experience and exposure of Annerose Atieno, Lucy Machuma and Linda Nyikuli will also count a lot in swaying the match their side. USIU, who failed to show up for their match against NYTA-Shimba last weekend, is third on the log with 16 points.

Captain Hilda Indasi will be the key player expected to lead the students to victory. Linda Mfuchi, Sudanese import Sarah Chan, Zipporah Odhiambo as well as Burundian duo of Ghyslaine Uwimama and Magniffique Ndayikengurutse are other players who can turn the game for the students.

Co-operative Bank, another team on 15 points, will host NYTA-Shimba as they hope to consolidate their grip on the top four.

Storms, also on 15 points, play Strathmore University on Saturday. The students are on 14 points. 

KPA double header in Nairobi 

In the men premier, KPA will have a double header in their tour of Nairobi playing Lions on Saturday and Thunder on Sunday. With three losses behind their back so far, KPA will have a mountain to climb as they face two of the best teams this season.

Lions have only lost once while Thunder has only two losses so far and began the season on a high. Against Thunder, they will be facing their old boy Dan Okwiri for the first time since he left the club at the beginning of the season.

The tie pitting defending champion Co-operative Bank and Ulinzi Warriors is a potentially tight match. It will be very crucial for both teams in varied ways.

The bankers are preparing for the regional championship in Burundi while the soldiers are gearing up for the regional military games all in August.

With last season's most valuable player Bobby Okwako missing out in action, Coach Carey Odhiambo will have to depend on the likes of Tony Abondo, James Mwangi, Brian Busu and Salim Ali, arguably the best point guard in the league, to tame the soldiers. All-time leading scorer William Ochieng will be the main player for Ulinzi.

Other matches will see University of Nairobi's Terrorist travel to Nakuru to play host Nakuru Club on Saturday and Strathmore University play tail holders Blazers on Sunday.

Collated Fixtures: Saturday- Western Delight vs K.U.Oryx (12pm, Kakamega), Nakuru Club vs Terror (12pm, Nakuru), KAA vs KU Pirates (9am, Nyayo), Strathmore University vs Storms (10:30am), KCA-U vs NYTA-Shimba (12pm), Co-op Bank vs Ulinzi (1:30pm), Strathmore University vs Blazers (3pm), Lions vs KPA (4:30pm); Sunday- Mennonite vs Safe Spaces (9am), Co-op Bank vs NYTA-Shimba (10:30am), Little Prince vs Upperhill (12pm), Thunder vs KPA (1:30pm), Eagle Wings vs USIU (3pm), USIU vs Lions (4:30pm).