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Handball chiefs fret over prolonged season over virus

Wednesday April 8 2020

Strathmore University's Nicholas Munyau shoots to score against University of Nairobi during their Kenya Handball Federation National League match at Kaloleni grounds on March 7, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Strathmore University's Nicholas Munyau shoots to score against University of Nairobi during their Kenya Handball Federation National League match at Kaloleni grounds on March 7, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AGNES MAKHANDIA
By AGNES MAKHANDIA
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The Kenya Handball Federation is concerned that the coronavirus pandemic might affect their plans to align their national leagues with the International Handball Federation calendar.

The 2019/2020 KHF leagues are scheduled to end this weekend with the 2020/2021 season planned to kick-off in June as per IHF calendar, but the leagues are currently halted following a government directive urging social distancing and barring public gatherings in the country as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.

On Tuesday, Kenya had recorded 172 confirmed cases with six deaths, and the federation hopes that the situation will be contained soon.

KHF Fixtures Secretary Charles Omondi said they hope the coronavirus pandemic will be curbed before May so that they engage the clubs and agree whether the league will be scrapped off or award the men and women’s current league leaders the titles.

Strathmore University lead the men’s log with 34 points from 18 matches while reigning champions National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) and Black Mamba are joined second with 30 points from 15 matches although the Mambas have an inferior goal difference but both teams are unbeaten in the 25-team league.

In the women’s category, back-to-back champions Nairobi Water Queens have 16 points from eight matches, NCPB are second with 14 points from nine matches same as Kenya Defence Forces although the forces have two matches in hand in the eight-team league.

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“We will have to wait and see what happens after the new directives from the government on the ban on the movement in to and out of Nairobi for 21 days. We have to find a solution. What the clubs will decide on after the meeting hopefully by end of this month we will then forward the feedback to the executive for the final say,” said Omondi.

Rangers coach Gerald Juma said if the league will not have resumed before June, then they should give the titles to the leaders.

“In our case, we are a self-supporting outfit and we are already looking for money for next season. Should this season spill to next season, then our operations will be affected since we work on a tight budget,” said Juma, whose side occupy fourth position in the men’s league.

Edina Kasandi, who is the team manager of both NCPB sides, said she would love the league to run through to the end.

“It will be unfair especially to teams that are yet to lose a match. Once the coronavirus is contained, the federation should come up with something even if they have to introduce mid-week fixtures but there should be a legitimate winner at the end of the day,” noted Kasandi.

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