Ulinzi set to arrest Thunder
With Ulinzi Warriors and Nairobi City Thunder tipped to battle for the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s regular league first and second places, Equity Bank and holders Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) are expected to fight for the third position.
The bankers host the dockers this Sunday at Nyayo Indoor Arena. In a match that has all the ingredients of a thriller, the former look to complete a double against their opponents while KPA seek to revenge their first leg loss.
KPA has five matches, against Thunder, Lakeside, Strathmore, United States International University - Africa (USIU-Africa) and the bankers on their cards. A win in all remaining matches takes them to third place.
On their part, Equity, who have lost three matches so far, need wins in their eight remaining matches to seal third place ahead of the dockers. In the second leg, the bankers have played Umoja, Thunder and World Hope losing to Thunder.
While KPA have the advantage of a bolstered squad with the inclusion of playmaker Keegan Oyugi and Kenya International Tom ‘Bush’ Wamukota, the bankers will miss the services of Faizal Aden who is still nursing a broken arm.
“We will be meeting an improved KPA. They had just signed new players in our first leg meeting but now they have a solid squad. We have to be better prepared for the match. Technically they are strong and we have to play smart to pick a win,” said Equity coach Carey Odhiambo.
He added: “Missing Aden, who has been an integral part of the team this season, in such a crucial encounter is a big blow. His last match was against Thunder, after which he picked an injury in training. We have played without him after that but his absence will be felt. He has been contributing at least 20 points so we have to look for a way to cover that difference.”
KPA tactician, Sammy Kiki, is confident they can overturn the first leg outcome, having steadied the ship after the mass exit at the beginning of the season.
“We will not underrate Equity. We plan to play our defence well and cut off their top scorers from getting the numbers in. I have my full squad and the availability of Wamukota is also a big boost,” said Kiki.
On their part, relegation-threatened USIU-Africa, who have been out of action for the better part of the second leg, take on Warriors Saturday before engaging Kenya College of Accountancy-University (KCA-U) in a university derby Sunday.