Blades out to cut USIU, Emyba to size in contest

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Saturday, March 30th 2019 at 01:00 GMT +3 | Sports
Eagle Wings' Mwajuma Suleiman dribbles the ball during KBF Match against Masaku Sparks at USIU Basketball court on Sunday [Courtesy]

Last season’s Kenya Basketball Federation Men’s Premier League losing semi-finalists Strathmore University Blades target double victory this weekend when they face United States University of Africa (USIU-A) and promoted Emyba at Nyayo Stadium Gymnasium.

Blades will be looking to regain their footing after suffering their second defeat of the season in three outings. They had a slow start losing to Thunder in their season opener.

They bounced back to beat Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCAU) 66-52 but failed to maintain the momentum falling to Ulinzi Warriors 71-53 last weekend.

The students who have been performing well in the last two seasons including a second place finish in 2017 hope to return to their winning ways and remain on course to qualifying for playoffs.

Blades coach Tony Ochieng is optimistic that despite their slow start they are eyeing a top-three finish by the end of the first leg which will move them closer to the knockout stage.

“Going into these weekend matches we know that it will not be easy because we are facing two sides that are energetic and aggressive. We are working on our strengths and also better ways of countering them and I am confident that my players are equal to the task,” Ochieng said.

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Ochieng said he will meet a fairly new side after some of his key players signed up for other clubs this season. “I have promoted five players from the development side and they have been very impressive in our last three encounters.”

Strathmore will have to make do without the services of Tony Abondo and Pascal Nabwana, who shifted to champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Thunder respectively.

Emmanuel Soja is also on his way out of the varsity side and is expected to turn up for Thunder this season and has not featured for the students since the beginning of the season. Fidel Okoth and Brian Onyango are out nursing injuries.

In other Premier League encounters, on-fire Ulinzi Warriors will be out to maintain their perfect run when they take on Umoja. Former holders Warriors, who long to reclaim their title, will be seeking to chalk up their fourth win having made three wins in three outings.

Emyba will entertain visiting Eldonets while Lakeside will host Equity Bank at Kisumu Sports Ground.

In the women’s title chase, Kenyatta University (KU) Oryx will eye maximum points against USIU-A Flames before taking on Storms in their second-weekend tie.

Zetech University will play promoted University of Nairobi (UON) Dynamites while visiting Western Delight take on Eagle Wings and Strathmore University Swords.

Flames will then clash with Tangit Sparks formerly known as Masaku Sparks who survived relegation last season.

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