Warriors arrest Police to bag league title
- Butali Warriors were on Sunday crowned the 2018 Kenya Hockey League men champions after beating Police 2-1 to clinch the title on goal difference.
- The battle for the gong had gone to the wire with Police having the points advantage but Warriors gave the best roar when it mattered the most to claim the honours on an afternoon of nervy fight at the Nairobi City Park.
Butali Warriors were on Sunday crowned the 2018 Kenya Hockey League men champions after beating Police 2-1 to clinch the title on goal difference.
The battle for the gong had gone to the wire with Police having the points advantage but Warriors gave the best roar when it mattered the most to claim the honours on an afternoon of nervy fight at the Nairobi City Park.
Frank Wanangwe scored a double for Butali in the 12th and 57th minute to dethrone the champions who got their sole goal from the lethal striker Amos Barkibir in the 50th minute.
Sunday’s heroics saw Butali claim the title for the time since 2015, and on goal difference as the two teams are joint at the top with 60 points but the champions have a better goal difference of 61 compared to 49 of Police.
Played under a charged atmosphere at City Park, Butali dominated possession in the opening stages of the match as both teams struggled to create open chances.
Police wasted a glorious chance in the 10th minute when Robert Masibo long cross from the right wing went begging with no one to to connect.
Two minutes later, Police would be punished when Butali got the opening goal from Frank Wanangwe after his powerful shot went past keeper Martin Agesa.
At the beginning of the second quarter, Police continued pressing but Warriors remained compact in defence with George Mutira forcing a save from Butali’s keeper Linus Sang.
Butali then earned a short corner in the 22nd minute but nothing much yielded out of it .
With six minutes to half-time Police won a short corner allowing Maxwell Fuchaka to intercept and widen Butali’s advantage.
Striker Amos Barkibir had a golden chance to cancel the scores with three minutes to half time on a one-on-one situation with Butali keeper Linus Sang but the latter denied him.
The match lived to its billing; the intensity high; both sets of players being penalised for rough fouls.
With just 15 minutes left, it became even more intense with Butali doing everything possible to fend off the bullets fired by Police.
Their efforts gave them a glimmer of hope when striker Amos Barkibir shook the net in the 50th minute after beating Sang from close range but it could not earn them the sought after title.
Though elated with the conquest, Butali head coach Dennis Owoka conceded it has been a tough season.
” We have had a very competitive season and this is evidenced by us winning the title on goal difference. We are celebrating for now then we will think of how to retain it again next season,” Owoka said.
His Police counterpart Patrick Mugambi said his side offered a good competition although he rued ‘simple mistakes’ that cost them the match.
” We were back in the game when we equalized but we lost concentration in the final minutes and that punished us. We will go to the drawing board and we hope to bounce back next season,” said Mugambi.
The Sunday match marked the end of the 2018/19 season with the next season set to start in March.
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