United States International University (USIU) Mashujaa lock horns with debutants Chase Sailors in a Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Premier League match at City Park today. The two meet for the first time since Sailors were elevated to the elite division with the last three points of the first leg at stake.
Mashujaa, who lie sixth on the log with 19 points, will come to the clash knowing that grabbing the three points will put them level with fifth-ranked Nairobi Sikh though Simba have a superior goal difference.
Three points for the bankers, who are ranked 11th with 13 points, will catapult them to position eight, leap-frogging Western Jaguars, Nakuru Hockey Club and Parklands Sports Club. However, this will only come to pass if they surmount Tom Olal’s charges who aim to finish the first leg in the top five.
Olal believes the standards of hockey in the Premier League have advanced to another level where straight wins are not guaranteed as minnows and experienced sides remain somewhat evenly matched.
“The levels of the hockey have advanced to a point that easy wins are not guaranteed anymore. I watched Sailors share spoils with Butali Warriors, a game they dominated and I could not distinguish them from a team which has been in the top flight for years,” said Olal. “I believe in my team for we have trained for such a tough game and we hope to go level points with Simba. It is the last game of the first leg where we hope to finish with a win. We have never played them before but we shall not underrate them.”