Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s league defending champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) make their first away trip this weekend.
After six matches they face United States International University – Africa (USIU-A) and Strathmore University Blades Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Coach Sammy Kiki who is guiding a side that rarely trains together is hopeful that they will churn out favourable results in their first away trip. His title winning squad would have had no problem seeing off the varsity sides but since eight of the players left before the season’s jump off, his current squad has their work cut out.
The tactician will also miss the services of forward Martin Kitong’o who has taken time off the team after losing his brother. However, he will have new signings Job Byron from USIU-A, Antony Abondo from Blades, returning Aeriel Okall, Kennedy Wachira and Paul Ekiru doing his billing.
“We will definitely miss the services of Kitong’o but the available players will manage. We have not had enough time to train as a unit as most of the players are based in Nairobi but our games are improving with each fixture. We have had time to train together before the weekend matches in Nairobi and I am hoping for a better show,” said Kiki.
Their female counterparts are up against Storms and Eagle Wings Saturday and Sunday respectively. KPA women started their season two weeks ago with a win against University of Nairobi (UoN) Dynamites but this weekend will be a real test for them.
Their Saturday opponent, Storms, picked two crucial wins last weekend to shade off a poor start and show signs of getting their groove back and are likely to mount a serious challenge against the former champions KPA. Eagle Wings are equally in good form and likely to pose problems for the Antony Ojukwu charges.
In other matches, Africa Nazarene University (ANU) entertain Strathmore University Swords in an interesting varsity derby before taking on Zetech University on Sunday while the latter face holders Equity Bank Hawks.
“These will be very tough matches for us but I expect my charges to give it their all. ANU gives us all kinds of problems in the varsity league and we expect the same in the premier league. Hawks are above us but we will put up a fight. We intend to better our placing to a podium finish at the end of the season and these are crucial matches to achieving that,” said Swords coach Ronnie Owino. – LYNETTE MATHEKA