Warriors, Telkom prepare for title defence as Union release 2019 fixtures
The 2019 Kenya Hockey Union Premier League begins on March 3 with the first match pitting Parklands Sports Club against USIU-men set for City Park.
In the women competition, JKUAT will get action off to a roaring start when they confront last year’s runners-up Strathmore University Scorpions on the same day, while defending champions Butali Sugar Warriors will launch their title defence on March 17 against the promoted Chase Sailors as former champions Kenya Police collide with Nairobi Simba on March 10.
A mouthwatering clash is penciled for April 20 when champions Warriors take on Police in a repeat of last season’s title decider when the former beat the latter 2-1 to claim the title on goal difference.
Women champions Telkom will get their season underway with a match against Chase Amira on March 10 as the newly promoted Lakers begin their campaign with a match against Sliders on April 6 in Kisumu.
Kenyatta University (KU) women team who are making a comeback to the top-tier league will have a date with Sliders on March 16.
In the fixtures released by KHU on Monday, one of the major changes instituted is the reduction of men’s teams in the top flight league from 12 to 10 while on the other hand the women teams have been increased from seven to eight.
This follows the restructuring process which began last year that saw the number of men’s teams reduced from 15 to 12.
The aim of the move, according to the KHU Deputy Fixtures Secretary Moses Majiwa, is to make the league more competitive.
“We are continuing with our restructuring process in order to increase competition in the league. We hope to increase the women’s teams to 10 as we also focus on the Super League for the rapid growth of the sport in the country,” Majiwa said in a statement.
Last term, for instance, in the men’s league, Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCAU), Nakuru Club and Parkroad Badgers – all fell to the relegation axe – dropping to the Super League while Chase Sailors is the only promoted team to the top-tier by virtue of being the champions of the second division league.
The Super League (SL) and National League (NL) will also commence simultaneously with the Premier League with the SL-men comprising of 13 teams while SL-women is made up of eight teams as the NL-men brings together 12 teams.
The first leg of the league matches is set to end on August 11.