Hockey maestro Aura takes over big job at Butali

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Wednesday, February 26th 2020 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Hockey
Butali Zack Aura when they played Nakuru Men in the National Men league at City Park. Butali scored 9-1. ON 02/09/2018(Jenipher Wachie, Standard)

Change is inevitable, and hockey giants Butali Sugar Warriors are not oblivious of the fact that change is the only constant thing in this world.

As the 2020 Kenya Hockey Union season begins at the weekend, the men’s Premier League champions have embraced change and will be looking to successfully defend their title with an overhauled technical bench.

Former Kenya international Zack Aura will be the man to guide Butali to their third successive title and fifth overall since the club rebranded in 2014.

Aura, one of the most revered hockey players in the country earned promotion to the top job following the resignation of tactician Dennis Owoka in December last year.

He has his work cut out as he seeks to guide Butali with Owoka having set the bar high last year leading the sugar millers to the title on an unbeaten record.

“I have played for Butali for many years and I’m familiar with the mission, vision, and objectives of the club and so it makes it easy for me even though it is a much bigger responsibility. My aim is to see that we retain our title on an unbeaten run just like we did last season,” Aura said.

Get the latest sports news updates. Subscribe to our SMS sports service by texting 'SPORTS' to 22840.

Aura also called ‘Maestro’ by his peers due to his hockey prowess added that he is confident he will deliver. “These are players I have played with, we understand our system and so I believe that it is an advantage because they understand me and know what to do when I tell them.”

The sugar millers also promoted veteran goalkeeper Joseph Osino, Brian Musasia and Maxwell Fuchaka to the posts of assistant coaches. Team Manager Kamal Sembi exuded confidence saying he believes in the squad and the new coaches to deliver.

“We expect a very tough league, but we have an amazing squad and our technical bench is also result oriented and so I’m looking forward to having a very good season. Even so, we must train hard to improve our work ethic and maintain high levels of discipline so we can improve and play better than we did last season,” Sembi said.

There is also change in the captaincy as Constant Wakhura takes over from long serving Kenneth Nyongesa. Wakhura will be under pressure to emulate Nyongesa who exits in style having guided Butali to four league titles in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019 and second place finishes in 2016 and 2017.

Butali have also engaged four able pairs of hands in a quest to beef up their squad ahead of this season. They have signed former Strathmore University Gladiators captain Festus Onyango, Kennedy Munialo from Wazalendo, Dave Makori from Kenyatta University and Clayson Luvanda from Greensharks. They, however, released Hannington Otieno to Parkroad Badgers.

For More of This and Other Sports Stories Subscribe to the Standard Epaper