Butali keep title hopes alive

Sunday December 3 2017

USIU's Wycliff Wanyonyi (right) vies for ball with Butali Sugar Warriors's Vincent Odhiambo (left) during their Kenya Hockey Union  Premier League match on December 3, 2017 at City Park Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

USIU's Wycliff Wanyonyi (right) vies for ball with Butali Sugar Warriors' Vincent Odhiambo (left) during their Kenya Hockey Union Premier League match on December 3, 2017 at City Park Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BRIAN YONGA
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Butali Sugar Warriors cut Kenya's Police lead at the top of the Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League table after a 1-0 win over USIU on Sunday at the City Park Stadium. Nairobi.

Emmanuel Simiyu's 40th minute field goal proved to be the difference in the closely contested encounter. Butali missed chances to win by a wider margin but will be glad with the three points that saw them complete a good outing in Nairobi.

On Saturday, they beat spluttering champions Strathmore University Gladiators 2-1 at the same venue.

After reaping the six points, the former champions are now placed second with 51 points, 10 behind Kenya Police, who lost their first match of the season away to Western Jaguars on Saturday.

Butali coach Godfrey Wakachunga was pleased with the six points noting that his charges will continue to fight till the end.

"Today we suffered a bit due to fatigue but we rode our luck and got the only goal. Ten points is still a massive gap but we have hope we can claw the gap," the coach said.

Greensharks drop to third place despite a 2-1 win over Wazalendo in the final match of the weekend.

Chris Wokila fired Sharks ahead in the 10th minute after converting a penalty flick past Waza keeper Bright Kezengwa. Wazalendo equalized on 34 minutes through Elly Mwanzi's field goal but Sharks found the wining goal 10 minutes later through Chris Mchwanju.

Sharks are on 49 points. In the women's Premier League, Amira Sailors and Strathmore University Scorpions kept alive their hopes of finishing in second place after winning their respective matches.

Amira Sailors beat former champions Sliders 3-0, while Strathmore University Scorpions secured a 2-1 win over Vikings in their encounter. 

In the men’s National League, Thika Rovers beat Parkroad Tigers 2-0 at the same venue.

Kenya international Pauline Naise hit a brace to inspire Amira to a comfortable win with Yvonne Kanyandong adding the other to give their side the three points. The result took Amira to 33 points, one behind second placed United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) Spartans.

Amira have however played 15 matches, one more than the students with five games till the end of the season. Amira coach Linet Onyango urged her charges to keep up the fight for a second place finish which will see them book their ticket to next year’s Africa Club Championship.

“We have not been in action for a month and you could see the rustiness in the opening exchanges. It was however comfortable once we got the first goal and we are still in with a chance of finishing second,” Onyango said.

Naise gave the hosts the lead in the 13th minute, converting a penalty after Lorraine Nondi was brought down by Sliders defender Doris Kirui. Sliders keeper Kate Opicha had no chance as Naise scooped the ball to the roof of the net.

Sliders were slow in attack and Amira picked them out in the 36th minute as a swift counter attack was finished by Naise for her 18th goal of the season.

Three minutes to the end, Kanyandong capitalized on defensive lapses to bury home the third with a sweet chip.

“We have got to be better than this, we allowed Amira to control the match and did not really show much fighting spirit,” Sliders captain Anita Agunda said.