For long, vultures have been known for their ability to survive on extreme conditions, feeding on meals that contain bacteria that would kill most large animals including humans. They have an excellent sense of sight and smell to help them locate food-and also have the ability to fly at great altitudes where oxygen is in short supply. It is these attributes that make the scavengers resurgent to deadly diseases that emanate from harsh conditions.
The situation is however contradictory to the `vultures’ in Kenyatta University (KU), whose frantic efforts to survive top flight hockey league came to an abrupt end on Sunday 4th January following a 1-0 loss to fellow strugglers KCA University in a Thika Road Derby played at the City Park Hockey Stadium.
The highly-anticipated match brought together two sides that were on the brink of facing the axe, with the winner poised to take it all and survive demotion.
The match surely lived up to its standards as both teams displayed top-notch hockey action that constantly got fans on their feet, with the cheers and discontent a clear depiction of tension.
Tactical approach to the contest is however what eventually separated the sides as KCA looked more strategic and psychological prepared for the decisive tie.
While KU played more directly and seemed in a rush to get a goal, their opponents slowly and carefully built their play from defense, passing the ball all over the pitch with a view of opening up KU’s guard at the back.
KCA also regularly pulled their opponents to the wings, a tactic that left the clear paths at the center where their forwards got numerous chances but wasted. Their efforts were nonetheless rewarded in the 53rd minute when Sammy Mwija calmly slotted the ball into an empty net following good play from his teammates.
The victory saw KCA maintain their spot in the top tier league while KU now join Technical University of Kenya (TUK) in dropping to the Men’s National League.
Relegation for the Vultures was however not solely to blame on their last game, with the worrying signs having shown much earlier.
The students have only managed eight wins from 28 matches which accrued them 26 points. They recently endured difficult times, first a seven match winless streak between May and July then a five match losing run between November and January.
Another major undoing for KU was their inability to beat most of their fellow strugglers who might also been candidates for relegation. They lost twice to KCA, twice to Nakuru and once to Chase Sailors. Those defeats made it more difficult to climb up the table standings, let alone survive demotion.
The only survivors that have registered fewer wins are Chase Sailors, who have seven to their name but will thank their gods granting them more draws and less defeats.
Kenyatta University (KU) now head to the National League, seeking to find a way of getting back to the Premier League as soon as possible. The journey will most definitely not be easy but is something that can even be achieved in a season’s time.
With their alias as the `vultures’, all the students need to do is soar higher, work in packs and search wider-after which promotion will offer itself in plenty.