Coach Ronnie Owino is hopeful that his charges, Strathmore University Women’s team, will rise to the occasion and beat Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) women league debutants Footprints when the two sides lock horns at the United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) Grounds.
A win for the Owino coached side will edge them closer to a top eight finish in regular season even as the side targets to break the deadlock and go past the quarters in this season’s playoffs. The women have been perennial losers in the quarters, last featuring in the semis in the 2012 season where they finished third.
“We have a young squad so this will be an even match. We won by less than ten points in the first leg and we cannot be too comfortable against Footprints because they are good despite being premier league newbies. They have strong guards and for us to beat them we have to contain them and capitalize on their lack of tough centres,” said coach Owino.
Strathmore have already lost six matches, three in the second leg to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Equity Hawks and Zetech. With matches against Western Delight, Storms, Eagle Wings and USIU remaining for the students after the weekend clash against Footprints, coach Owino is confident they will be in the playoffs.
“We have lost six matches so far but to more experienced sides. With four matches remaining, after this weekend fixtures, I am confident we will be in the playoffs but my target is to finish in position five or six and avoid a strong challenger for the quarters.
Despite having a relatively young squad, we can fight for a semis spot,” added Owino. The Langata Road-based side is, however, without the services of Doreen Akwatch and Melvin Imbiza, in the second leg, as the two secured scholarships to study abroad a month ago. The tactician admits their exit was a blow and is hopeful he will get worthy replacements in the next recruitment.
The side lost five players last season while four are set to clear school this year. Their male counterparts, Strathmore Blades play Thunder today before facing off with fellow students USIU.
Tony Ochieng coached Blades are coming off back to back losses and will be keen to break the losing trend while Thunder are on a winning streak and, after last weekend’s break, will be rearing to go. USIU will fight for a comeback after a 68-40 thrashing by Ulinzi Warriors, who play Lakeside this weekend.
Meanwhile, holders KPA men and women take on Equity Bank today before the latter play Zetech while the former take on Thunder on Sunday.