HARBOURING HOPES: Butali begin hockey title quest as league action continues

Parklands Frankson Allan Odongo with the ball as Butali warriors Frank Wanangwe(r) looks on when they played premier league at City Park. Butali scored 4-1. ON 05/09/15 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

Former Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League champions Butali Sugar Warriors launch this season’s campaign against Western Jaguars today at City Park Stadium.

Butali who were dethroned last year by Strathmore University Gladiators will be out for a perfect start as they seek to reclaim the title. They lost to the students 3-0 in a penalty shootout to relinquish their crown after the finals match had ended in a 1-1 draw in regular time.

Butali who suffered a huge loss with the demise of their coach the late Cliffe Okello at the beginning of this year will also be seeking a fresh start. Captain Kenneth Nyongesa told Feverpitch they were hit hard by the loss and will be out to win the match for their fallen coach.

“We were hit to the core after we lost our coach, but we came together as a team accepted that he is gone and decided that we are going to work hard this season and win for him,” Nyongesa said.

Referring to his side as a wounded lion, Nyongesa added that they are going to fight tooth and nail to recapture the gong.

“We have beefed up our squad and are geared up to fight aggressively. It is going to be a long season because we are playing home and away but we are prepared.” Butali signed Constant Wakhura and Derrick Kuloba from Strathmore and goalkeeper Pius Ratori from Mvita.

Newcomers Technical University of Kenya (TUK) will be hoping to bounce back from their Premier debut 2-0 loss to Chase Sailors last weekend when they play Nakuru HC.

Tomorrow, Jaguars who survived relegation after winning the four-team playoffs courtesy of Wazalendo Youth who declined a promotion to the top tier will take on Parklands.

Nakuru play United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) in their second league encounter who settled for a point following a 1-1 draw with Kenyatta University (KU) Vultures last Sunday.

USIU-A Spartans lock horns with KU Titans today while Sliders take on novices University of Nairobi Ladies in the women’s title hunt. Both Spartans and Sliders struggled last season with Sliders who had finished second behind champions Telkom Orange in 2015 finishing fifth.

Thika Rovers clash with Parkroad Tigers in the men’s National League in Nairobi. Mombasa derby will see relegated Mombasa Sports Club and Mvita face off in hunt for premier league promotion.

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