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Karate, Police, Navy register crucial wins in weekend hockey ties

Felix Okoth of Kenya Police (red) challenges a KCA opponent

May 9, 2011.. With the KHU national womens league taking a break, all eyes were on the mens league this past weekend with table-altering games on the cards.

The weekend’s big match pitted on-form Kenya Police and the KHU mens premier league title pretenders Greensharks in a match played at 4:00 pm at City Park, Nairobi. At stake was the league leadership as well as bragging rights, given that last time the two teams met the game ended in a draw.

Going into the match, the Sharks were riding on a 3 match winning run while the Cops were smarting from a well earned 1 – 1 draw against league champions Strathmore University the previous weekend.

Not even the late arrival of the presiding umpire arrived could dampen the spirits of the fans who turned out to cheer the teams and the players did not disappoint.

Police were first to draw blood with a well executed field goal by James Munyi in the 8th minute after a carefully strung set of passes. This seemed to catch the Sharks unprepared, as they struggled to regain their footing after the quick goal. A series of half-passes and lackluster defensive clearance by the Sharks only served to make the Cops more confident.

Sharks were hard pressed to leave their half, only managing sporadic attacks on the Police goal.

However, there was respite for the Sharks when striker Rogers Ayuya took advantage of a defensive mix-up to nugde in the equalizer in the 24th minute. This saw the first half end in a 1 – 1 draw. Sharks goalkeeper Elly Asura was in superb form, making a couple of daring saves that encouraged his defense to fight on.

The second half was altogether  a different kettle of fish.

Kenya Police returned with renewed vigor and were duly rewarded by a wonderfully deflected goal in the 40th minute courtesy of Felix Okoth. The Sharks then put up a spirited fight, pressing the Police in their own half only to be stopped by the Police goalkeeper, James Kayieko. The 2 – 1 scoreline was to be maintained untill the 53rd minute when the Sharks suffered a lack of concentration and conceeded a total of 3 goals in less than five minutes of play.

James Munyi netted his second before Vincent Otieno got his brace to leave the scoreline at 5 – 1 in the 58th minute. The Sharks however regained their composure and pressed forward and were duly rewarded by a 63rd minute goal courtesy of Leon Magomere. This was Magomere’s 5th goal in 4 matches.

The match would end 5 -2 in favor of Kenya Police. The win moves Kenya Police to the second slot, one point behind Strathmore Gladiators but with a game in hand.

Defending champions Strathmore University were in action against Wazalendo on Sunday afternoon. Wazalendo were going through a bad spell, having played 4 matches and winning none. Their bad spell was to continue with Strathmore emerging victorious by 2 goals to 1 despite a spirited fight from the self-sponsoring club.

A parklands player during a past match

The greatest shock of the weekend was the 2 – 0 drubbing of KCA by league returnees Karate Axiom. Fondly known as the ‘Giant Killers’ after dismissing Nairobi Simba 4 – 3 barely a week before, KCA were billed as the hot favorites in the mid-table tie.

Action on the pitch proved otherwise as Karate, coached by G. Lall, played a cautious game, opting to lock their defenses and frustrate the KCA players who were accustomed to a more open game. Karate rarely ventured forward and when they did, the earned short corners and the two goals that settled the game.

Karate Axiom were recently promoted to the Kenya Hockey Unions premier league after emerging tops in the 2010 KHU national league. This was the teams second win and propelled them to the top half of the 12 team league.

Other Kenya Hockey premier league match saw Nairobi Simba earn a 1- 0 win away to Western Jaguars in Kakamega.

A simbas Derby pitting Nairobi Simba and Kisumu Simba was called off in the last minute due to a bereavement a night prior. This was the second time a Kisumu Simba match was being postponed.

The KHU mens national league also had top clashes with run-away leaders Multimedia University (MMU), University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya Navy and Parklands all in action.

UoN, initially billed as the sleeping giants, proved their skeptics wrong by trouncing arch rivals Parklands Sports Club by 2 goals to 1. A win that propels them to position three in the 12 team league.  Also in Nairobi for the first time was the revived Kenya Navy team who literally made a mockery of the National Youth Service (NYS) team.

Said Rashid of the Navy team blasted through 5 goals from short corner set-pieces to wrap up a 7 – 1 win over the NYS.

Run-away KHU national league leaders Multimedia University were however more cautious with their game. MMU earned a comfortable 1 -  0 win over bottom league side Kenya Polytechnic. The Polytechnic team is now a pale shadow of its former self.

Weekend result summary:

Saturday  7th May 2011

38. National Men UON  Vs  Parklands 2.00 P.M [2 - 1] City Park
39. Premier Men Kenya Police Vs Greenshaks 4.00 P.M [5 - 2] City Park
40. Premier men Nrb Simba Vs Western Jaguars 3.00 P.M [1 - 0] Kakamega

Sunday 8th May 2011

41. National Men Kenya Navy Vs NYS 10.00 A.M [7 - 1] City Park
42. Premier Men Karate Vs KCAU 12.00 P.M  [2 - 0] City Park
43. National Men Kenya Polytechnic Vs Multimedia 2.00 P.M    [0 - 1] City Park
44. Premier Men Strathmore Vs Wazalendo 4.00 P.M    [ 2 - 1] City Park
45. Premier Men Kisumu Simba Vs Nrb Simba *postponed 4.00 P.M KSM

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