Week nine of the 2018 Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) season is finally here with us! Judging by the fixtures lined up for Saturday June 9 and Sunday June 10, it is anticipated to be a make-or-break situation for most participating teams as the results recorded will have a major impact on the overall season progress and ultimate standings.
League action resumes after a short break owing to the just concluded Mombasa County Hockey Association (MCHA) National Indoor Hockey Festival held at the Agha Khan Academy, Mombasa in which Butali Warriors were crowned champions.
Busy weekend for USIU, Sharks
It will be a demanding weekend for Greensharks and United States International University-Africa (USIU-A), who play each other before facing another set of complex fixtures against very able opponents.
The two sides clash on Saturday June 9 at the City Park Stadium at 16:00 in what is arguably the most entertaining match of the day. The match however comes at the wake of contrasting fortunes, with Sharks placed a respectable third position with 16 points while USIU are a distant seventh with only six points following two wins and three defeats.
Sharks have managed to score a total of 17 goals in their first seven matches and conceded eight while USIU have scored six, conceding eight in the process where they have kept one clean sheet. Recent head-to-head statistics however favour the students as they beat Sharks twice by a 2-1 margin in last season’s two games and will be hoping to extend the run. Both sides will be keen for a win as they come from losses, USIU having lost 1-0 to Nakuru SC while Sharks fell 2-1 in the hands of league leaders Butali Warriors.
USIU then have another mountain to climb on Sunday when they entertain defending Champions Kenya Police at the same venue from 17:00. The law enforcers have bounced back confidently from their 4-3 defeat to Greensharks with two straight victories and are on the hunt for a third that might take them level on points with Butali. Six points will see the learners climb up three places to fourth.
Greensharks on their part play their second match of the weekend against Wazalendo, a side that has suffered two consecutive heavy defeats in their last engagements. Should they win their twin fixtures, The Ben Owaga coached side will momentarily hold top spot.
In other Men’s Premier League fixtures, Nakuru SC host Strathmore University while Parkroad Badgers lock horns with bottom placed Parklands SC. Parklands sit ninth with five points but have started registering positive results following four straight defeats.
Sailors out to consolidate top spot
It will also be an important weekend for Chase Sailors, who have a chance of stretching their lead at the top of the Men’s Super League table when they play two matches. Sailors, who are the only unbeaten side in their league so far, will first be up against Kimathi University on Saturday at the City Park before closing their weekend against Kisumu Youngstars on Sunday morning at the same venue.
They lead the pack with 12 points from four games in which they have won all, scoring twelve goals and conceding only three. Should they win the two matches, they will open up an eight-point gap between them and second-placed Technical University of Kenya (TUK) who currently have ten.
USIU, Wolverines in search for a first win
United States International University-Africa (USIU) are hoping to redeem their 2018 season when they host Chase Amira on Saturday noon at the City Park Stadium. They languish at the bottom of the Women’s Premier League table following two straight defeats where they have conceded six goals and scored only one.
The season is however still early as they have only played two games compared to their opponents who have played four and are placed third with six points. They will also seek motivation from last season’s results where they beat Amira both home and away, both by a 2-0 margin.
Another ladies’ side hungry for a victory is Wolverines, who are yet to record one since being integrated into competitive hockey league. They have so far picked up two draws and a loss, amassing two points to sit fifth in the Women’s Super League table. They face fellow strugglers Nakuru on Saturday afternoon at the latter’s home ground.
FULL WEEK 9 FIXTURES
SATURDAY JUNE 9, 2018
Premier League Men
15:00- Nakuru vs Strathmore (Nakuru)
16:00- USIU vs Greensharks (City Park)
18:00- Parkroad Badgers vs Parklands SC (City Park)
Premier League Women
12:00- USIU vs Chase Amira (City Park)
Super League Men
14:00- Kimathi University vs Chase Sailors (City Park)
16:00- Mombasa SC vs Kabarak University (Mombasa)
Super League Women
13:00- Nakuru vs Wolverines (Nakuru)
SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2018
Premier League Men
15:00- Wazalendo vs Greensharks (City Park)
17:00- Kenya Police vs USIU (City Park)
Super League Men
09:00- Mvita XI vs Kabarak University (Mombasa)
09:00- Chase Sailors vs Kisumu Youngstars (City Park)
National League Men
11:00- UoN vs Karate Axiom (City Park)
13:00- JKUAT vs Wzalendo Youth (City Park)