Hockey: Opondo eager to inspire Lakers to wins against Sailors and Sliders

Lakers striker Aurelia Apondo in past action. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

When Aurelia 'Aura' Opondo was left out of the national hockey women's team that featured in this year's Commonwealth Games, she did not give up on her goal to be the best hockey player.

Despite being instrumental for Kenya when the national team won bronze at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations, the Lakers Hockey Club striker did not make the final squad.

Aura as she is fondly referred to within the hockey corridors scored in Kenya's 3-0 and 2-1 wins against Zambia and Namibia during her debut when the continental games were held in Ghana in January.

The 24-year-old has now put behind her national team disappointments and is determined to help her club move second in the Kenya Hockey Union women's Premier League standings.

Speaking to the Standard Sports, Opondo said they are focused on winning their two home matches this weekend and close on the top two teams; leaders Strathmore University Scorpions and defending champions Blazers Hockey Club who are second.

Lakers, who are yet to win any of their home matches, host struggling Amira Sailors today (1pm) and bottom placed Sliders tomorrow (9am) at Kisumu Day High School grounds.

"Our main goal is to bag the six points and this can only be done by scoring goals. We are determined to win our two matches over the weekend and we hope for the best," she said.

The Tigoi Girls alumnus further said she believes scoring her first goal of the season when they drew 1-1 against champions Blazers two weeks ago came in handy as they seek to end their winless streak at home.

The Austin Tuju-coached side have played two home games so far and lost both 1-0 to USIU Spartans and Strathmore Scorpions.

Ironically, the Lakers are unbeaten on the road. They have defeated Wolverines and Sliders and drew with Blazers and Sailors in Nairobi.

"My season didn't start very well as I expected but after the first goal I scored against Blazers my confidence became stronger. I am certain that I will put more effort in the coming matches and get the top scorer title God willingly," said Opondo.

Opondo was the Super League top scorer with eight goals when Lakers was promoted to the top tier league in 2018. She scored four goals during their debut in the Premier League in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the league in 2020 and 2021.

She is now aiming to score more than eight goals this season.

In the men's Premier League, third-placed Western Jaguars will host second-placed Kenya Police in a top of table affair match set to be played at Eregi TTC in Kakamega from 2pm.

Jaguars closed the gap between them and Police to within three points after thrashing Strathmore University Gladiators 5-2 last weekend.

In Nairobi, relegation-threatened Parkroad Badgers will entertain defending champions Butali Sugar Warriors at City Park.

Parkroad are second last with six points while Butali are unbeaten with 30 points.

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