Upper Hill opt to remain in Division One

By francis marangu
Mar 11, 2021
  • Upper Hill have decided to remain in Division one and Trailblazers who finished third have been promoted to the KBF men's Premier League. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Upper Hill High School will not feature in the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men's Premier League as the 2016 season commences this weekend in Nairobi.

Soon after they qualified to the top tier league in December, there was a questions on whether the young lads would venture into the 'big' league and take on very experienced and battle-hardened teams.

In reply, Upper Hill have opted to continue playing in the lower tier at request of the team’s management who felt Premier League pressure would be too much for the students.

James Amoko, the KBF competition secretary confirmed that Trailblazers who finished third in division one playoffs will take up their place. Trailblazers will make their debut against defending champions Ulinzi Warriors on Saturday.

Ulinzi will be welcoming back four players from military duty namely John Washika, Mike Tanui, Antony Bwire and Joshua Okumu. Head coach William Balozi has said they will have to fight for positions in the team.

“Each of them has to prove worth in training because we must ensure Ulinzi maintain its status as champions.”

Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) who won the division one title will also make their debut this weekend against Equity Bank on Sunday. Losing finalist United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) faceoff with Lions on Sunday.

Lions assemble a strong team

After seeing their fortunes dwindle in the past few seasons due to financial problems, former champions Lions are rearing to go according to head coach Juma Ikapian. “This time, we want to start on a high note. We don't want to struggle like last season when we pegged our playoffs hopes on mathematical chances,” he said.

“We have trained well, there has been quorum in training and selecting the team is now a headache unlike last season when sessions lacked numbers.” Lions has lost Moses Wanjara who has joined Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) but the rest of the team remains intact.

A few new players have come on board including trio of Billy Ongute, Mark Brian Ouko and Deng Mawien from Kenya Airports Authority (KAA). Patrick Mungai and John Angilo Owino have also signed with Lions for the new season.

The lower division has three games with Blazers playing EMYBA, World Hope entertaining Don Bosco and Barclays Bank plays KAA.

In women's Premier League, former champions Eagle Wings will play two games on the opening weekend. On Saturday, they face Western Delight before playing Equity Bank on Sunday.

Champions USIU-A will play Western Delight on Sunday as they seek to win a third title in a row while Co-operative Bank tackles Storms.

The new season comes with changes that include abolishing the conference system after just a season. Men’s competition will have two lower tiers namely division one and division two while division one has been introduced to the women competition.

Fixtures

Saturday: Blazers vs EMYBA (Nyayo gymnasium, 9 a.m.), World Hope vs Don Bosco (10:30 a.m.), Eagle Wings vs Western Delight (12 p.m.), Co-op Bank vs Storms (2 p.m.), Ulinzi Warriors vs Trailblazers (4 p.m.); Sunday: USIU-A vs Western Delight (Nyayo gymnasium, 9 a.m.), Barclays Bank vs KAA (10:30 a.m.), Equity Bank vs Eagle Wings (12 p.m.), Equity Bank vs KCA-U (2 p.m.), USIU-A vs Lions (4 p.m.).