United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) and Kisumu Lakeside will play their remaining Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) regular league fixtures Saturday and Sunday with the final playoff spot at stake for the two sides.
USIU are at an advantage as they have won one match more than Lakeside have and need to win their two fixtures, against Trailblazers on Saturday and Umoja on Sunday, to secure the eighth spot and a date with league leaders Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in the playoff quarters.
Lakeside, however, are on an almost impossible mission of beating Strathmore University Blades and KPA and hope USIU lose their fixtures.
In the event that Lakeside win against last year’s finalist Blades and KPA and USIU win just one of their two matches, the Kisumu based side will still be out of the last eight as the head-to-head statistics favour the students.
“We are walking a tight rope as we are banking on USIU losing their matches for us to qualify for the playoffs. We will play our game and hope to do well enough to survive relegation if not be in the playoffs,” said Lakeside coach George Oanasi.
The side made a comeback to the premier league this season after winning the division one playoffs in the 2017 season. Oanasi says they had hoped for a better show in their return, having last featured in the premier league in 2013 but dropped midway due to lack of funds, and loss of four crucial players before the season jumped off.
“Losing four players coupled with financial constraints have been our biggest undoing in our quest to put up a good show. Team work was also a challenge since some players are not based in Kisumu and by the time we rectified that it was too late to put a grip on the playoffs. We, however, hope to remain in the top tier and scheme for a better season,” added Oanasi.
In the women’s league, KPA are in Kakamega where they take on Western Delight. The holders have lost to Equity and third placed Storms, and with Storms breathing down their necks, KPA are keen not lose any of their three remaining matches.