Kenya Police’s unbeaten run in the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) men’s Premier league came to an end Saturday when they were defeated 1-0 by hosts Western Jaguars at the Kakamega High School grounds.
Dan Kuya’s 45th minute goal via a penalty corner delivered the famous win to the relegation-threatened side.
Police, who last won the Premier League title in 2013, had won 20 matches and drawn once prior to Saturday’s encounter.
The result left Police top of the pile with 61 points, 13 points ahead of second- placed Butali Sugar Warriors, who beat spluttering champions Strathmore University Gladiators 2-1 at the City Park Stadium in Nairobi.
Kenya Police Coach Kenneth Kaunda said his boys played well in spite of the defeat.
“We had many scoring opportunities but the strikers were unlucky not to have scored,” said Kaunda.
On his part, Jaguars Assistant Coach Peter Okova praised his players for putting up a sterling performance.
“We used the home ground well. The boys played an attacking game and we made use of the chance we got.” said Okova. The win took Jaguars away from the relegation spot.
They are now in 13th place with 21 points, one ahead of Kenyatta University Vultures and 13 ahead of bottom placed Technical University of Kenya.
The bottom two teams will be relegated at the end of the season.
Police started the encounter on a high note and they could have taken the lead in the fifth minute when Calvin Kanu’s shot on the edge of the Jaguars’ circle was cleared by defender Mark Mutua.
Jaguars fought back gallantly making relentless attacks at the goal mouth of their opponents in search of the elusive goal. After half time, both teams showed high ball possession.
Victor Wekesa could have snatched the opener in the 38th minute for Police when he rounded up Kelvin Machinji only to shoot the ball in the hands of advancing goal keeper Gilbert Okanga.
Jaguars maintained a composed game and went ahead with 15 minutes to go as Kuya converted Ian Baron’s short corner.
At City Park Stadium, Butali took the lead in the first minute through Maxwell Fuchaka’s field goal but the students levelled through Job Jerry Ogaro in the second quarter.
The lakeside team benefited from defensive lapses from the students to regain the lead through Barnabas Odhiambo and held out for the three points.
They will have a chance to cut Police’s lead to 10 points with a win against USIU on Sunday.
In another men’s Premier league match, Sikh Union cruised to a 5-1 win over Parklands.
A brace from international Francis Esikhuri set the 2012 champions on the path to a comfortable win in a match they should have won by a wider margin.
Allan Iningu, Inderjit ‘Coolly’ Matharu and Davies Wanangwe also chipped in with goals as Sikh put their opponents to the sword scoring all their goals through short corners.
Allan Odongo scored a consolation for Parklands in the fourth quarter.
In the men’s National League, Dedan Kimathi secured a 2-1 win over University of Nairobi as Impala earned three points after Daystar University failed to show up for their match.