Kenya men’s hockey Premier League champions Butali Sugar Warriors are planning recruitment especially in the midfield ahead of the new season as they warned opponents to brace up for even tougher battle.
Butali Sugar Warriors for the second time won the league unbeaten, chalking 15 wins and three draws for their total haul of 41 points.
Wazalendo who had their best run in the league, finished second with 36 points draw from 11 win, three draws and for defeats.
The first time the club won the league title unbeaten was in 2014. It was the first season they had taken up a new name, rebranding from Kisumu Simba Union to Butali Sugar, complete with a new sponsor.
The only other team that had won the league unbeaten and on several occasions was the defunct Kenya Armed Forces in 1998.
Butali Sugar’s team manager, Kamal Sembi, who celebrated the team’s fourth league title success this year, has said the best is yet to come from his side.
“I congratulate all the players and coaching staff of Butali Warriors on successfully defending their title. Clinching the crown unbeaten is no mean achievement,” Kamal said.
“Their hard work, dedication and focus made the impossible possible.”
“We scored the most goals (50) and conceded the least (11) but we want a more vibrant midfield and tight defence hence our main focus of recruitment next season,” explained Kamal. “We kept the bar high, despite the formidable challenge and opposition from our worthy opponents.”
Kamal also took time to thank the team’s sponsors, Butali Sugar Mills, saying that the company has proven its love for sports in the country despite the hard financial times being experience in the country.
SUPPORT AND LEADERSHIP
“Butali Sugar Mills and the Board of Directors, led by Sanjay Patel, have always stood by the team. They have selflessly given us full support and the opportunity to play the game that we love,” Kamal told Nation Sport on Monday.
He paid tribute to his captain Ken Nyongesa for his fantastic leadership and commitment.
Kamal regretted after his team failed to honour the Africa Club Championships for the second time but said better moments lie ahead for the club.
“We hope to represent the country next year and his depends on availability of sponsorship,” said Kamal.
Kamal commended Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) for a well organised league but pointed out that the league can be made better by having fewer league matches and more tournament-based events.
“We need to finish the league two months before the end of the year so that teams can take stock and have better pre-season training,” said Kamal, adding that umpiring and pitched still remained areas of major concern.
“Only a handful of umpires can handled matches satisfactorily right from the lower leagues to the premier. KHU really need to invest in their training because the game will not improve without competent umpires,” said Kamal, adding that KHU should not only focus on the state of City Park Stadium but also other pitches that host league matches across the country.
“Some venues are not fit for matches at all and these has seen quality teams suffering.”