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SPORTS

Butali Warriors ready to jog to another league title

HOCKEY By Washington Onyango | March 22nd 2022 | 3 min read
Butali Sugar Warriors in a warm-up session before facing Green Sharks in a hockey Premier League match at City Park, on Saturday. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Despite not playing hockey for the past two years, Butali Sugar Warriors are ready to march to the championship once again.

With the striking force of Kalvins Kanu, Festus Onyango and George Mutira at their disposal, Butali have a fearsome attack that can dismantle rival defenses at will.

Last Saturday, the champions did just that when they began their Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Men’s Premier League title defense on a high note after thrashing Greensharks 3-0 in a match played at City Park Stadium, in Nairobi.

New-signing Festus Onyango, captain Constant Wakhura and Shammath Ademba scored in the first half as Butali reigned supreme in their first match of the 2022 season.

Onyango and Ademba scored in the 8th and 23rd minutes before Wakhura scored through a penalty corner in the 22nd minute to hand the sugar men their first three points of the season.

Speaking to Standard Sports, Warriors captain Wakhura said they have what it takes to retain the title despite being rusty due to lack of action for the past two years.

The KHU leagues resumed this year, two years since all sports were suspended in March 2020 as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Even though many sports including rugby, football, basketball and athletics resumed last year, hockey failed to take-off because the union was unable to meet the government’s strict return-to-play Covid-19 protocols.

The pain passionate players faced is over after all KHU Leagues resumed this month.

“We are happy hockey is back. Many players suffered because we could not do what we do best while others we playing. Some almost gave up but we are now in action and hoping for the best,” said Wakhura.

“Victory over Sharks is massive to us. We wanted a winning start to the campaign and I believe this will push the team forward in terms of confidence and building chemistry as the league slowly starts to gather pace,” said Wakhura.

At the same time, Wazalendo registered their first win of the season with a 2-0 victory over United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) on Sunday, at City Park.

Sutcliffe Osagi opened the scoring via a field goal in the 23rd minute before Rioba Otora doubled his side’s advantage five minutes later, from a penalty.

Wazalendo had lost 3-0 to Kenya Police during the season opener on March 13.

In the women’s Premier League, Strathmore University Scorpions narrowly edged out Dutch Flower Group Wolverines 1-0 on Saturday to maintain their perfect start to the season.

National women’s hockey team striker Gilly Okumu scored the winning goal as Scorpions moved top of the standings on six points. The Scorpion defeated Sliders 3-0 last weekend.

Defending champions Blazers meanwhile, were held to a 1-1 draw by USIU-A Spartans women’s team.

Terry Masibo gave Blazers the lead in 42nd minute after converting from the spot before national team forward Naomi Kemunto leveled the scores in the 50th minute.

The draw leaves Blazers second on four points. Blazers defeated Sliders 2-0 in their opening match two weeks ago.

 

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