Owino: Co-op Bank are the better side

By francis marangu
Nov 25, 2021
  • Ronnie Owino, the Strathmore University coach expects a close match against Cooperative Bank whom he says are favorites. (SNA. File Photo)

Ronnie Owino, the Strathmore University head coach has maintained the underdog tag for his team as they prepare to play Co-operative Bank in the Kenya Basketball Federaion women’s Premier League quarterfinals playoffs this weekend.

Strathmore finished fourth and Co-op Bank fifth but Owino says the bankers are the better side. Game one will be played on Saturday and game two on Sunday at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium.

The best-of-three series game could be closed this weekend if one team wins both encounters. “We want to start with game one and are focused to win,” he told Sports News Arena. “After that, we can think of game two. If there will be game three, we will deal with it then.”

In their second leg game played in August, Strathmore beat the bankers 46-43 at the buzzer in one of their best comebacks of the season. They have also recorded a similar win over Equity Bank and that could be one of the motivations to drive the youthful side in the knock-outs.

Sarah Wakanyi, who won the game with a three-pointer is one of the key players for Strathmore. “Even though we won that game, they troubled us a lot since they didn't have three of their best players. We know their strengths and with everything remaining constant, we hope to play a good game,” Owino added.

“The season has been a learning experience for us having finished fourth. Co-op Bank are the better team, they have experienced players and are favorites on paper. We are not under pressure.”

First semifinal spot in many years

Mollete Achieng, Rachel Opinya and Susan Manya are the other players to play a key role in delivering Strathmore their first semifinal spot in many years. Irene Makori and Evelyn Itabu will lead Co-op Bank.

In the last four seasons, Strathmore has always fallen out of contention in the quarterfinals falling victim to Co-op Bank in three of these seasons and once to Storms.

The overall winner of this series will join the United States International University- Africa (USIU-A), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Equity Bank in the semifinals.

In the men’s Premier League, USIU-A and KPA will face off in game two on Saturday. KPA are leading 1-0 after winning game one last weekend. They will need a win to qualify for the last four while USIU-A must win to force game three on Sunday.

In the men’s Division II, KDF Morans will host Egerton University trailing 0-1.

In the women’s Division I, Egerton University and Kisumu Lady Bucks will take their push for Premier League qualification to Nairobi for respective games two. Egerton leads Strathmore University 1-0 with Lady Bucks leading Gladiators.

Weekend fixtures

Saturday: Strathmore University vs Egerton University (9 a.m., Nyayo gymnasium), Gladiators vs Kisumu Lady Bucks (10:30), KDF Morans vs Egerton University (12 p.m.), Strathmore Swords vs Co-op Bank (1:30), USIU-A vs KPA (4:30).

Sunday: Kisumu Lady Bucks vs Gladiators (9 a.m., Nyayo gymnasium), Egerton University vs Strathmore University (10:30), Egerton University vs KDF Morans (12 p.m.), Co-op Bank vs Strathmore Swords (2 p.m.), KPA vs USIU-A (4 p.m.).