The play-offs lineup for this season’s Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League has been confirmed after the final two slots were clinched at the weekend. Two-time champions Strathmore University Gladiators confirmed their place on Sunday evening after a hard fought 1-0 win away to bottom-placed Bay Club at the Kisumu Sports Club. Steve Nyabuto scored the only goal of the game to propel his team to the knockout stage.
The win coupled with USIU’s 3-2 to loss to Kenyatta University (KU) Vultures means the Gladiators will finish second in Pool A, behind champions and leaders Butali Sugar Warriors. In the play-offs set for next month, Butali will take on Pool B runners up Greensharks while 2013 champions Kenya Police will be up against Strathmore.
The winners will contest in the final to determine the winner of the 2016 men’s premier league season. Strathmore coach Meshack Senge was delighted with result praising his charges for their fighting spirit which he said will be essential in the play-offs.
“We have achieved our first target of the season and that was to make it to the playoffs. Our second target is to ensure we qualify for the club championship and we are working towards this,” Senge told Daily Nation Sport Monday.
He however said it was too early to start thinking about next month’s clash with Police but is relishing the encounter. “We still have a our final match against KU (Vultures) to think about but every match we play now is a build up to the Police encounter,” he added.
The win against Bay Club moved Senge’s side to 13 points, five behind Butali with one match to play. Nakuru jumped to third place after their emphatic 1-0 win over Sikh Union Nairobi. The Rift Valley side are on nine points, one ahead of USIU who dropped to fourth while Sikh complete the top five.
In Pool B, Police pipped Greensharks to clinch top spot after hitting them 2-0 on Saturday evening. Both teams finished their preliminary matches with 13 points but Police are perched at the top due to a superior goal difference.
In the women’s Premier League, champions Telkom Orange opened a five point lead at the top after a remarkable weekend. Orange scored 28 goals from two matches to move to 16 points with two matches remaining.
Four points from those two matches will see them retain the title. Strathmore Scorpions are placed second with 11 points and have three matches left while newcomers Amira Sailors are third, a point back.
USIU Spartans and Sliders complete the top five places with 10 and nine points respectively.