Strathmore upset Kenya Police, meet Butali in final

By ronnie evans
Nov 27, 2021
  • Strathmore Hockey coach Meshack Senge steered his team to the final of the KHU men's playoff by beating Kenya Police 3-2. (SNA. File Photo)

Strathmore University upset Kenya Police 3-2 in a tense straight shoot outs to progress to the Kenya Hockey Union men’s final after an evenly contested 2-2 draw in regular time of their match played on Saturday at City Park.

Following their draw, the penalty strokes took place on Sunday as the match had been called off due to a heavy downpour.

In the tie, Strathmore University went into the lead through Benson Ochieng in the 14th minute. Double strikes by Kenyan international Willis Okeyo in the 18th and 34th minute gave Kenya Police a 2-1 advantage heading into the break.

Derrick Kuloba scored the equalizer for the students in the 62nd minute to ensure that the match is decided by shoot outs.

Okeyo stepped up and converted the first goal in the shoot out before a clever juggle by Strathmore University’s Francis Kariuki could not be matched by his finish as he fired wide.

Kanu, Oliver Echenje and Felix Okoth all missed their attempts for Kenya Police with Richard Birir being their second successful scorer after he rounded Simon Odhiambo in goal.

Kuloba converted the fourth penalty with a first time shot to place the final burden on Kenyan international Constant Wakhura as he was given the task to decide matters. Wakhura side stepped Martin Agesa in goal before coolly firing past him to send the students into jubilation.

“It was a very tough match for us but we showed great character and resilience as a team. We wanted to win more than them and that was clear in our fighting spirit. We did not do well in terms of converting our set piece chances and that is something we are looking to improve on in the week we have before the final,” Strathmore coach Meshack Senge said after the match.

Stubborn Green Sharks

Defending champions Butali Sugar Warriors also booked their ticket into the final after a hard fought 2-1 win over a stubborn Green Sharks side.

Butali Sugar fired warning shots in the fifth minute when former Green Sharks player Tony Nyikuri stole the ball and fed Frank Wanangwe. Wanangwe beat several markers before setting up strike partner Emmanuel Simiyu whose low shot was saved at the near post by Ely Tangaza.

Green Sharks players were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure while utilizing their blistering counter attacks. In this match, they showed brave defending time and again thwarting Butali’s attacks and frustrating their efforts for a 0-0 halftime score.

Despite having three players yellow carded for causing a scuffle and dangerous play, Green Sharks held their resolve until the 54th minute when Barnabas Odhiambo struck after being set up by Maxwell Fuchaka.

Chris Wokila and Mike Ochieng missed three clear chances that would have given Green Sharks the lead after the duo were unmarked and clear on goal.

Experienced forward Zack Aura drove to the left wing before setting up Seth Oburu to score with low shot to the right corner in the 62nd minute.

Green Sharks found a consolation in the final minute of play through Victor Osiche’s penalty.

“We are happy to get the win and advance to the final. As I stated before, they were tough to break down because they defended well and we were lucky not to concede with this being a knockout game. We also did not score some of our open chances and that is an issue we have to address before the final match,” Butali coach Cliff Okello said.

Butali Sugar will now face Strathmore University in the final while Kenya Police tackle Green Sharks in the third place playoffs set for December.