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Hockey weekend action

Butali Sugar Warriors’ coach Cliff Okello says his team aims for a perfect finish as they battle fourth-placed United States International University-Africa in their final Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League group match on Saturday at the City Park Stadium.

The league, which resumes after a two week break, sees defending champions Butali already qualified for the playoffs as top seeds with 18 points in Pool A.

USIU-A hope to secure the third spot after a faltering 2-3 loss to Kenyatta University in their last outing, a result that derailed their chances of qualifying for the playoff.

Speaking to Sports News Arena on Thursday Okello said, “We will approach it as any other match in the league with a full strength squad. We will use the match as part of our training for the club championships. I do not wish to change a winning side as we would like to see our strongest side perform consistently over a period of time.”

His opposite number, a defiant Tom Olal acknowledged: “They (Butali) have a strong side with good attacking players. We are not going to sit back and defend because we like playing in our opponent’s’ half. My team will go and give their best out there. We will give a fight and hope to get a win.”

Olal identified a lapse in concentration especially in the early stages of matches as a weak point in his team. USIU-A will have to make do without the services of Kenyan international defender Neville Mulupi who sustained an ankle injury last weekend.

In the women’s league defending champions Telkom Orange in superb form at the moment face Sliders. They are on a backdrop of two consecutive high scoring wins but coach Jos Openda insists that there is still some work to be done if his team is to scale the heights of their previous success.

“We are implementing a new system of play in our training and also keeping fitness levels high. Our goal has always been to focus on winning the club championships and that is what we are working on. That remains the same so we will use the league match to gauge how the system works best,” he added.

He revealed that his team’s strength during matches is on the right side of the field where they base most of their attacks from to break down teams.

Weekend fixtures

Saturday: (Women) USIU-A v Amira Sailors (12 noon); (Men) Kabarak University v Daystar (2 p.m.), TUK v Kimathi (2 p.m.), Kenyatta University v Strathmore University (4 p.m.), Butali Sugar v USIU-A (6 p.m.).

Sunday: – (Women) Strathmore University v Kenyatta University (9 a.m.); (Men) Park Road Tigers v Multimedia University (11 a.m.), Sikh Union, Nairobi  v Parklands Sports Club (1 p.m.), Park Road v Chase Sailors (3 p.m.), Telkom Orange v Sliders (5 p.m.).


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