Lynette Matheka and Viden Ochieng @PeopleSports11
Trans Nzoia Falcons, last season’s surprise package in the Women’s Premier League (WPL), are going for nothing short of the title in the 2019 campaign that kicks off in February.
Flacons, who earned promotion to the top flight last season after keeping an unbeaten run in Division One’s Zone B to clinch the title in 2017, gave the big wigs a run for their money, recording just one loss in 30 matches while winning 22 for a total 73 points.
That haul saw them finish an impressive third, seven points behind champions Vihiga Queens and six behind runners-up Thika Queens and it is that podium finish that is giving coach Justin Okiring and his charges confidence that a title push is possible this time round.
“Despite having a good side that proved their mettle in their first attempt, I need to beef up my defence. The defenders I have are good but they are also in their final year of high school and we need to give them time off the league to prepare for their exams,” said Okiring, who believes early preparations will be key in realising their ambitions.
The Kitale-based club has called for trials from Friday to Sunday as the tactician looks to beef up his squad before they embark on a seven-day pre-season camp in Rwanda next week.
“If the trials give me just four defenders to fill the positions of the KCSE candidates and a reserve player, I will be home and dry. The other positions are satisfactorily filled,” added Okiring.
Centre-back Valentine Cherop, full-backs Hellen Mulupi and Sophi Adhiambo will be sitting their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam this year, leaving Falcons with just one regular defender in Moureen Khakasa.
Meanwhile, champions Vihiga Queens are keen to avoid a slow start like last season as they seek to make it a hat-trick of titles in 2019.
Coach Alex Amurila plans to inject new blood into the side and embark on early preparations to mitigate the missteps that saw them get off to a poor start last year.
“Having analysed the team, it is clear we must improve the weak areas because our rivals will be coming back more competitive and stronger in the new season,” said Amurila who is targeting a mixture of experienced and youth in his targets.
“We must also have proper transitional structures that will see us bring up junior players from the second string side,” added Amurila.