Telkom, Police on brink of hockey titles

Friday January 12 2018

Kenya Police's Kennedy Sibweche (left) shields the ball from Technical University of Kenya's Leonard Marwa during their Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League match on December 12, 2017 at City Park Stadium, Nairobi. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Kenya Police's Kennedy Sibweche (left) shields the ball from Technical University of Kenya's Leonard Marwa during their Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League match on December 12, 2017 at City Park Stadium, Nairobi. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BRIAN YONGA
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Kenya Police and Telkom are poised to win the 2017 Kenya Hockey Union men and women’s Premier League titles this weekend. The league resumes for the final month of action with 12 matches on the cards following a lengthy break during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

Police just need one win in their final three matches and could be crowned champions either with victory over second-from-bottom Kenyatta University (KU) Vultures on Saturday or Wazalendo on Sunday.

Telkom on the other hand need just a point to win a record 20th title and face Multimedia University on Sunday at City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

Police have had a superb season, winning 23 out 25 matches played, losing one and drawing another to yield a tally of 70 points, 18 ahead of second-placed Greensharks. Third-place Butali are the only team with a mathematical chance of catching up with Police. The 2015 champions have 51 points, 19 adrift of Police but with seven matches left.

HIGH SPIRITS

Police coach Kenneth Kaunda is in high spirits ahead of this defining weekend.

“We have been consistent throughout the season and that reflects on our position in the table. The lads have a chance to finish the job this weekend and should go out there and enjoy the occasion,” Kaunda said.

One man who has been outstanding this season for the law enforcers is Amos Barkibir whose 16 goals have propelled the team to the brink of their first title since 2013. He will lead the attack alongside fellow international Calvins Kanu.

Barkibir is three goals behind the league’s top scorer Festus Onyango of Strathmore University Gladiators in the race for the golden boot. While Police will be eager to pop the champagne, Vultures are battling to avoid the drop.

With bottom-placed TUK already relegated, Vultures are one of the four teams embroiled in the relegation dog fight. The students are on 22 points and cannot afford to drop points in today’s match as well as tomorrow’s encounter against third-placed Butali Sugar Warriors.

“We have two tough matches and our survival in the league depends on us wining both. The lads need to show great character this weekend,” Vultures coach Moses Kagochi said. The students have six games left.

In the women’s Premier League, Telkom have once again been the dominant team winning all their 17 matches played this season and scoring an impressive 103 goals and conceding only thrice. The team’s coach Jos Openda has urged his charges to wrap up the title so that they can switch attention to defending their continental club title.

The Africa Cup for Club Champions runs from January 20- 20 in Accra, Ghana with Telkom and Strathmore University Scorpions set to represent the country.

“We are building for the continental showpiece and this weekend provides a nice warm up,” Openda said.

FIXTURES (All matches at City Park Stadium unless stated)

Saturday

Premier Women: Strathmore University v KU Titans – 10am, Sliders v Multimedia-2pm

Premier Men: KU Vultures v Kenya Police- 12noon, Butali v TUK- 4pm, USIU v Strathmore – 6pm

Sunday

Premier Women: MSC v JKUAT (Mombasa) – 9am, KU Titans v Vikings – 11am, Telkom v Multimedia – 1pm

Premier Men: Strathmore University v Greensharks – 3pm, Wazalendo v Kenya Police – 5pm

National Men: Kabarak v Kisumu Youngstars (Nakuru) – 10am