Strathmore University Blades will take on Thunder in a crucial Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men's Premier League match at the United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) outdoor courts on Saturday.
The winner of this match stands a high chance of finishing third in the regular season behind leaders Kenya Ports Authority and second-placed Ulinzi Warriors.
Blades, finalists in last year’s playoffs, will bank on the experience gathered in the recently concluded Fiba Africa Zone Five club championship in Dar es Salaam against Thunder. Coach Tony Ochieng’ will rely on the trio of Fidel Okoth, Daryl Omondi and Brian Onyango to hand Thunder their seventh loss of the season after going down 67-49 to USIU Tigers last weekend.
Thunder’s forward Faheem Juma, towering Kevin Chogo and evergreen point guard Griffins Ligare are expected to throw everything into the critical match to win.
Meanwhile, USIU-A Tigers will start as favourites to win against relegation bound World Hope. The Tigers will look to capitalize on home advantage to compound World Hope’s woes with forwards Brian Salano and Derrick Juma keen to continue with their good form.
In the women’s Premier League, high-riding Strathmore University Swords coached by Ronnie Owino will entertain hosts USIU-A Flames. After Joy Nekesa led Swords to beat Eagle Wings 49-29 last weekend, Swords are confident of harvesting maximum two points from Flames. Coach George Mayienga’s Flames, who have had a poor season this year, were beaten 27-54 by Zetech University last weekend and whether they will make home advantage count against Swords remains to be seen.
On Sunday, it will be a reunion of sorts for Melisa Akinyi with her former side in what is expected to be an explosive encounter as Swords take on Storms at the same venue.
Footprints, debutants in the women’s Premier League, will host relegation threatened Western Delight on Saturday. Western Delight will wind their tour against Masaku Sparks.
In men’s Division One league, Little Prince will meet JKUAT, Zetech Titans tackle KDF Morans while Pirates Eldonets. At the same venue on Sunday, Blazers play JKUAT, Africa Nazarene University take on Barclays Bank while Upper Hill School square it out with regular campaigners Little Prince.
In Mombasa, Coastal Kings will host Kenya Airports Authority in their men’s Division Two tie at KPA Makande Gymnasium while Nebulas welcome Egerton University at the Kakamega Police Canteen. Nakuru Club will host Nairobi-based Africa Nazarene University at Menengai High School.
USIU-A: JKUAT v Little Prince (9am), JKUAT v Eldonets (9am), Strathmore University v Pirates (10.30am), Footprints v Western Delight (10.30am), Oryx v Storms (12pm), KDF Morans v Zetech Titans (12pm), USIU-A Tigers v World Hope (1.30pm), Strathmore University v USIU-A Flames (1.30pm), Pirates v Eldonets (3pm), Riara University v Upper Hill School (3pm), Thunder v Blades (4.30pm).
KPA Makande Gymnasium: Coastal Kings v KAA (4pm).
Menengai High School: Nakuru Club v ANU (10am).
Kakamega Police Canteen: Nebulas v Egerton University (9am).
USIU-A: Masaku Sparks v Western Delight (9am), JKUAT v ANU (9am), Oryx v Footprints (10.30am), Riara University v Egerton University (10.30am), Strathmore University v Eldonets (12pm), Blazers v JKUAT (12pm), ANU v Barclays Bank (1.30pm), Upper Hill v Little Prince (1.30pm), Strathmore University v Storms (3pm).
KPA Makande Gymnasium Mombasa: Baobab Blazers v KAA (9am).