Sports

Testing times for basketball league second leg

After a two-week break, Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) league enters its most interesting phase, the second leg, where teams lock horn in search of play off positions.

Battle is expected to heat up at ends, the top and bottom where the former will be a dash for the top eight, while the latter fight to escape the relegation axe. More than ten clashes will be staged Saturday and on Sunday in both the premier league and Division One.

Last season’s finalists Strathmore University Blades have a tricky weekend to navigate as they take on Trailblazers today and KCA- University on Sunday. The Tony Ochieng-coached side lost their first leg matches against the two teams and have the herculean task of ‘returning the favour’.

“We have trained well for the second leg. I am glad that the squad is fit and ready to go. We reviewed our first leg and have rectified our mistakes. We were complacent against Trailblazers in the first match but we learned our lesson and I am expecting a win,” said coach Ochieng.

He added, “The trickier fixture is against KCA. They are out to win and I know they can push us hard. They did the same thing in the first quarter, taking advantage of the absence of some of our key players and won. However, we are now full house, well rested and hungry for points we will contain them,” Blades are tied at 17 points with Ulinzi Warriors and Equity Bank after the first leg.

On their part, Ulinzi take on Equity on Sunday in their second leg opening fixture. The soldiers suffered a shock defeat to the bankers in the first leg and are on a revenge mission even as competition is expected to intensify.

“We lost to Equity by six points in the first leg match, partly due to injuries, but we are now ready to fight for a win. Our outdoors training has been rewarding as was evident in our last two matches of the first leg and I expect the players to be in better form for the second leg,” expressed Ulinzi head coach William Balozi.

Balozi will be backed by the timely recovery of utility players Eric Mutoro and Tiberious Menya in his quest for a top place finish. The team to beat for the title contenders will however be holders Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) who are yet to drop a point in the eleven team league. In other matches Umoja play Thunder while Equity Bank women take on Strathmore.

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