Four Kenyan teams set to represent the country in this year’s East and Central Africa handball club championships slated for November 22-27 in Tanzania have been excluded from this weekend’s national league fixtures.
Second placed in the current league standings, Black Mamba, fellow title contenders Strathmore University and National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) men and women’s teams will fly the Kenyan flag in Tanzania.
Notably missing in the travelling contingent are defending champions Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) men and Nairobi Water women. The two sides clinched the titles in last year’s tournament at Nyayo National Stadium where the then defending champions Rwanda Police were the only foreign team in the poorly attended regional championship.
Meanwhile, Kaloleni-based Black Mamba, who yesterday received Sh200, 000 from Makadara MP for the tournament, will be looking to clinch the title in the absence of KDF.
“We have prepared very well since the season started and we are confident we will clinch the title. We have lost four times in the finals but this time round we are going for nothing short of the cup. We owe that to our fans and MP,” said team captain Byron Agunda further stating that they are aiming to win a double this season with the domestic cup in sight.
On his side, Strathmore’s coach Peter Mwathi is exuding the same confidence of his team emerging victors in the regional tourney that they finished third last year.
“Just because we have suffered our first loss of the season does not rule us out of anything. We are going for the East and Central Africa title as well as the national title. We pulled out of the Universities tournament to concentrate on these two and my squad has depth and can deliver in both,” said Mwathi.
As the teams leave this weekend, the league will continue with 12 matches lined up for Saturday and Sunday.
They were also deprived of a blatant penalty in the second half when Azaro was floored in full sight of the generally unimpressive Ethiopian referee.