Butali Sugar Warrior strikers Amos Barkibir and Calvins Kanu won’t celebrate if they score against their former side Kenya Police when the two giants face-off in the men’s hockey Premier League on Saturday at City Park Stadium.
Champions Telkom tackle Strathmore University Scorpions in what is expected to be an explosive women’s Premier League match on Sunday at the same venue.
However, Barkibir, 22 and Kanu, 25, disclosed that they are emotionally and physically prepared for what they described as a "tough, intense and fast" duel.
Both Barkibir, who has played for Police for two seasons, having joined from Western Jaguars and Kanu, who joined the men in blue from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology three years ago, won the title with Police in 2017.
"It’s not going to be an easy match for me since I enjoyed playing for them. It’s where I polished my game but I hope it will be a good match,” Barkibir said.
“My work will be to score but I won’t celebrate if I score since I have maximum respect for them.”
Kanu, who scored one of their goals when they beat Sailors 2-0 in their league opener over a month ago, said only an extra-ordinary goal will elicit celebrations from him but not much.
“It’s a match I have been waiting for since I joined Butali. My trade is to score and I will be happy to sink a classy goal,” said Kanu, adding that Butali will be enjoy great advantage since they know most of Police defenders.
Butali head coach Dennis Owoka disclosed that they signed the duo because of their eye for goal. “They are fast and that is what we want. They have fitted so well into our system and game plan and we can only wish them well,” said Owoka.
Owoka will be without his other striker Frank Wanangwe, who is out for up to six weeks after he sustained a hamstring injury. His place has been taken by another new singing Moses Ademba from Multi Media University.
Last season, Kenya Police thrashed Butali Sugar 3-0 in the first leg before Butali claimed a swift revenge 2-1, in the last match of the season that handed the sugarmen the title.
Owoka reckons that Police are a consistent and resilient side that is also good and fast on counter. “Having Barkibir and Kanu changes nothing on their side. We ought to be careful since they are out to redeem themselves,” said Owoka.
Kenya Police skipper Willis Okeyo said they are not worried with the departure of Barkibir and Kanu, whom they have replaced with Samuel Wokila and new signing Levi Otieno Namisi from Kitale Technical Institute respectively.
“We shall push more players upfront like Oliver Echenje hence we are ready and good to go against Butali,” said Okeyo. “We expect a tough but exciting duel.”
Men’s Premier League:
Butali Sugar Warriors v Kenya Police (6pm)-City Park
Men’s Super League: Impala v MMU (4pm)-City Park
Men’s National league: Gorillas v Parkroad Tigers (12pm), Bay Club v JKUAT (3pm)-Kisumu
Women’s Super League: Vikings v Oranje Leonas (2pm)-City Park
Men’s Premier League: Sailors v Sikh Union (5pm)- City Park
Men’s Super League: Kimathi University v TUK (1pm)- City Park
Men’s National league: UoE v JKUAT (3pm)-Eldoret; Karate Axiom v Wazalendo Youth (11am) City Park
Women’s Premier league: Strathmore v Telkom (3pm) -City Park
Women’s Super League: Wolverines v Vikings (9am)-City Park
Men’s Premier League: Strathmore v Parklands (5pm) - City Park
Men’s Super League: Impala v KU (3pm) - City Park
Women’s Super league: Oranje Leonas v Wolverines (1pm)- City Park