Equity Bank Hawks will take on defending champions United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) in game one of the women’s Premier League semifinal playoffs today eying a spot in their maiden final.
They will play three successive games until Sunday at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium with the winner playing Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) who defeated Co-operative Bank 3-1 before the Christmas break.
David Maina, the Equity Bank coach acknowledged the bankers had already achieved their season’s targets but will be competitive in the best-of-five series. Equity had set a minimum target of making it to the last four in their debut season.
He will be cautious against USIU-A who apart from being champions are chasing their fourth straight final. “This is a knockout and the loser is out. We plan to play every game like a final but that does not mean we are under any pressure. They have everything to lose.”
Hilda Indasi will be up against a team she helped win their maiden title last season. Alongside Linda Mfuchi who also played for USIU-A before joining Equity, they have been the force behind the bankers’ good run.
The experience of team captain Eleanor Musundi, Denise Apondi, Salma Akinyi and Samba Mjomba offer Maina with good arsenal to take on the hard-fighting USIU-A.
“Now that we are nearer the final, there is urgency to win. If we make it to the final, it will be a plus for us. We need the win as much as they need it,” explained Maina.
Equity is not planning to ambush USIU-A in the first three games for a clean sweep to the final but will go for the easiest win possible. “We will prepare for one game after the other,” the coach assured.
Sarah Chan key for USIU-A
USIU-A will use their experience of playing in the last four league finals, regional and continental competitions against Equity who are no pushovers. Their top player is Sarah Chan whose defensive and offensive play on the court is unmatched in the league.
She is a player who can lift the team under any situation. Other key players in the team which is coched by George Mayienga are Cynthia Irankunda, Georgia Adhiambo and Zipporah Odhiambo. Melissa Akinyi came in to replace Indasi.
The game will start at 6 p.m. with games two and three on Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m. The loser will play Co-op Bank in the playoff . The final will begin on January 30 with the first two games in Mombasa.
There will also be ranking games to be played this weekend in both men and women’s Premier Leagues.
In the women’s Premier League, Masaku Sparks will play Ulinzi Blades with Eagle Wings taking on Strathmore University. Winners and losers in both games will then play each other to determine fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth finishers.
In the men’s Premier League, Blades will play Equity Bank. The winner will then play Co-op Bank for fifth and sixth positions with the loser playing Nakuru Club for seventh and eighth positions.
Friday: Equity Bank vs USIU-A (6 p.m. at Nyayo gymnasium); Saturday: Masaku Sparks vs Ulinzi Blades (12 p.m. at Nyayo gymnasium), Blades vs Equity Bank (2 p.m.), USIU-A vs Equity Bank (4 p.m.); Sunday: Nakuru Club vs Equity/Blades (12 p.m., Nyayo gymnasium), Co-op Bank vs Equity/Blades (2 p.m.), Equity Bank vs USIU-A (4 p.m.).
Source >>> SportsNewsArena