Defensive midfielders Nickson Amadi and Robert Amadi make a comeback for Butali Sugar Warriors as they resume their hunt for the Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League title with crucial matches against Parklands and Parkroad Badgers this weekend at City Park Stadium.
Nickson and Robert make a return from suspension, having missed Butali’s last outing three weeks ago where they crushed Western Jaguars 6-0.
Butali’s coach Dennis Owoka is eying an improved show when they take on Parklands on Saturday before wrapping up their Nairobi tour against Badgers on Sunday. Butali crushed Parklands and Badgers 4-0 and 5-0 respectively in the first leg.
Champions Kenya Police also hope to uphold their winning form with an interesting duel against Strathmore Gladiators at the same venue on Sunday.
In the women’s Premier League, relegation battling Vikings take on Chase Amira on Saturday with second-placed Strathmore University Scorpions up against Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology on Sunday.
With the battle having been reduced to a two-horse between Butali and Police in the men's league, it's now a matter of who will blink first as the second league gathers momentum.
Butali, the 2015 champions, who have not been in action for the last three weeks, still top the 12-team league with 42 points from 14 wins and a draw while Police are second with 39 points made of 13 wins and a draw.
Butali are yet to lose since going down to Police 3-0 in the first leg in June while the champion’s only defeat was a 4-3 defeat to Greensharks also in the first leg.
Even though Owoka welcomes back the Amadis, he will miss the services of Vincent Odhiambo against Parklands. The suspended Odhiambo will be available for selection against Badgers.
“We have been out of action for three weeks but our training has been more intense than usual,” said Owoka. “We are good to go.”
Police have been cruising since their return two weeks ago. They claimed swift revenge against Greensharks 3-2 in their last match last Sunday having downed Western Jaguars and United States International University (USIU) 4-0 and 1-0 respectively.
Police beat Strathmore University Gladiators 3-1 in the first leg. Both teams are at full strength hence a cracker is in the offing.
“We are full strength with no injuries. The battle is on to successfully defend our title,” said one of Police coaches Patrick Mugambi.
“We want to reinforce and work on areas where we fell short in the first leg,” said Strathmore coach Meshak Senge. “We might be out of contention for the title but our target is to finish in top five.”
Strathmore are placed fifth in the league with 22 points, behind Butali (42), Police (39), Wazalendo (26) and Greensharks (24).
FIXTURES (All matches at City Park unless stated)
Super League-women: MSC v UON (1pm)-Mombasa
Super League-men: TUK v Mvita XI (2pm)-City Park; Wazalendo Masters v MSC (4pm)
Premier League-women: Vikings v Chase Amira (12pm)-City Park
Premier League-men: Butali v Parklands (6pm)-City Park
Super League –men: KU v MSC (7am); MMU v Mvita XI (9am); Kimathi University v Impala (1pm)
Premier League –women: Strathmore v JKUAT (11am)
Premier League –men: Butali v Parkroad Badgers (3pm); Kenya Police v Strathmore (5pm)