Having won both the league title and the Super Cup in last season’s Kenya Handball Federation (KHF) men’s league, Black Mamba, are aware of the immense pressure upon them to maintain the good run and coach Martin Abunde says they are leaving nothing to chance.
Black Mamba, faced with tough competition from Kenya Defence Forces’ Ulinzi, Strathmore University and National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), finished the title campaign unbeaten. The decision came down to who had fewer draws as the remaining three teams picked just one loss each.
“We had a good run last season but now the pressure is on us to maintain that reputation and go for the title and probably do so unbeaten again. We will not have it easy since the teams have increased and we expect all teams to come at us guns blazing. We are training hard and the dedication in team gives me hope that we can do it again,” said Abunde.
The coach has the same title winning team at his disposal with only three players who were ready to graduate from the junior team being loaned out. The coach says he chose to loan them out since he has a solid squad and he wants them to get playing time which they might lack at Black Mamba.
The side will play Mt Kenya University (MKU) Thika on Sunday in their second fixture of the season. Mamba picked a 24-20 win over Kenyatta University in their first fixture two weeks ago.
“We have challenges in training but as a coach I have done my best to ensure the players are ready for the matches. We train three days a week and at times I cannot have all the players at the same time. I am, however, thankful for the Kaloleni court as it has made training easier for us although the other equipment like balls and nets are still lacking,” explained Abunde.
In other matches Strathmore fight for their third win third win against fellow students University of Nairobi before facing JKUAT on Sunday. Dedan Kimathi take on Generation while Nanyuki play JKUAT. Technical University of Kenya (TUK) are also in action against MKU Thika.
In women matches, holders Nairobi Water take on Sparklers today before facing National Youth Service (NYS) on Sunday. Dedan Kimathi take on MKU Thika in the second ladies match of the day. –
With the increase in number of teams and Super Cup positions up for grabs after 21 matches for men and 16 for women, the level of competition is expected to increase. The Super Cup was introduced last year where the top six teams after regular season do battle for the prestigious trophy.