'Heshima idumu' – Blazers' Karanja savours revenge against Scorpion in Africa Club Champs clash – Capital Sports
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – Kenya women’s hockey league side Blazers captain Tracy Karanja says they had a score to settle against Strathmore Scorpions after the latter dethroned them as the national defending champions in the just-concluded local season.
A 42nd minute goal by Melvin Muga Omondi was all the record national champions needed to silence their bitter rivals in their second match of the ongoing Africa Cup of Club Championships at the City Park Stadium in Nairobi on Tuesday morning.
Karanja described the win as a statement that their loss of the national title was simply a blip and not the norm.
“This game was personal for each and every player. We take it personally that we lost the league (to Scorpions) this season. This tournament was an opportunity for us to put respect where it ought to be. We have made a statement here today that we are still here…we are not backing down but are here contending for the title,” Karanja said.
Blazers began their campaign on a somewhat underwhelming note, drawing 1-1 against fellow Kenyans, Lakers, in their opening match at the same venue on Monday morning.
Nonetheless, Karanja is keen to move on from the disappointment of day one, describing their win over the Scorpions as the best way of erasing the unpalatable memory of yesterday’s draw.
“Yesterday was very disappointing. We really wished we could pick all points along the way but we are now starting our tournament today (Tuesday). We want to pick all the points from all the teams and this is the pace that we have set for ourselves,” she said.
A diplomatic Opesh
In contrast, Blazers coach Jos Openda was more diplomatic, choosing to overlook the local significance of the duel in preference to its impact on the team’s continental aspirations.
“You’d have to ask the players if it was a case of revenge for them but personally I look at it as the Africa Club Championships. We already have four points so that’s what matters the most for us. The tournament is a league format and the one with the most points wins so we want to see if we can bag the most points along the way,” he said.
Openda’s major worry though is his ladies’ profligacy in front of goal, which he believes could have proved costly had the students got their equalizer.
“That happens (missing a lot of chances) but like I told them, you have to utilize your chances. You saw at one point we even missed a flick but bottom line is that we have the three points. You saw how Strathmore pressed in the late stages and had they gotten an equalizer that would have put us down,” he explained.
The team’s next date is on Thursday against Nigeria’s Kada Queens at the same venue.
In other matches played on Tuesday, Kenya’s Butali Sugar and Ghana’s Exchequer drew 2-2 at the Sikh Union Club as Police Machine of Nigeria beat Ghana Revenue Authority 4-3 at the same venue.
Moses Adembah turned up with his second goal of the tournament, putting Butali in the lead in the 3rd minute before George Mutira scored the second, 10 minutes later, to put the Kenyans in the ascendancy.
However, Daniel Bempah pulled one back for the West Africans a minute later before a Johnny Botsio goal in the 17th minute brought them back into the game.
Kenya’s Lakers were awarded a walkover and a score of 5-0 after their opponents, Kada Queens, failed to show up.