Gladiators’reign under threat

Wednesday, October 5th, 2022 08:40 | By
Butali forward Frank Wanangwe (centre) dribbles the ball in a past action match against Strathmore Gladiators. PD/ALEX NJUE
Butali forward Frank Wanangwe (centre) dribbles the ball in a past action match against Strathmore Gladiators. PD/ALEX NJUE

Strathmore University hockey team Gladiators has an illustrious history in the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) men’s Premier League having won three titles.

However, with the rise of other clubs like champions Butali Sugar Warriors and Kenya Police, Gladiator’s position as a top hockey side in Kenya has gradually but steadily declined.  Over the years the Madaraka-based side has concentrated on youth development programme which has paid huge dividends, they have lifted league titles in 2006, 2009 and the last coming in 2016.

“We simply haven’t shown up in most matches this season and the boys will surely learn through the hard way,” Strathmore’s coach Meshak Senge said when asked about recent results.

He added: “I really can’t blame the rookies in the team since our major problem is confidence.”

Under the tutelage of Senge, Gladiators have over the years produced a group of players who were more confident in competing and winning against the best teams in the league, and understandably, most have left for greener pastures in other clubs in the country.

“You can’t really stop players from moving on, after all, that is part of growth. I am particularly happy to see my former players excelling in other clubs,” he added.

Mentally stronger

Senge agrees Gladiators’ results, however, have been inconsistent this season, they frequently have a great match one day and then look terrible the next.

“It is reasonable to expect that with experience, the team will become mentally stronger and perform better in the league,” he added.

Over the weekend, Gladiators lost yet another match 2-1 to Greensharks, in a match played at the City Park Stadium, a continuation of the poor show from the last weekend duel when they lost by a solitary goal to Western Jaguars.

The result left them further down in the 10-team table with four wins, five defeats and one draw. Only Parkroad Badgers and Mombasa Sports Club have a worse run than the former Champions.

One team that looks like champions however is Senge’s other side Scorpions, who are top of the Women’s league.

Unbeaten Scorpions have 18 points from six matches in the seven-team league. Their latest conquest was a 3-0 win over Amira Sailors on Saturday.

“The ladies are playing with renewed energy, I think the win over Blazers in the first leg was our turning point. We still have a long way to go but so far they are ticking the right boxes,” Senge gave his assessment of the Scorpions who ended Blazers’ over decade-long unbeaten run.

Meanwhile, defending champions Blazers on Sunday squandered the chance to close the gap on leaders Scorpions after they played to a 1-1 draw against Lakers. Aurellia Opondo and Maurine Okumu traded the goals for their respective sides.

The draw saw Blazers maintain their second place on the log with 14-points.

, nine clear off Kisumu-based team who sit third with eight points. Wolverines remained fifth on the seven-team table with six points while the result also left Sailors bottom of that log and three points adrift of their opponents.

On Saturday, men’s Premier League champions Butali played to 2-2 draw against Western Jaguars at the City Park Stadium

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