Strathmore University Scorpions coach Meshack Senge has lauded the impact of his new players in his team’s winning start to their 2017 Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) women’s Premier League campaign.
Senge gave debuts to three out six new players signed from various secondary schools in Wednesday night’s 3-0 win over Vikings at the City Park Stadium.
Midfielder Barbara Atigo (Tigoi Girls) as well as defenders Sandra Odera (Moi Girls) and Diana Awino (TransNzoia Mixed) all played in the students’ first game of the season.
Goalkeeper Lynne Anyango, who joined from East African secondary school girls champions Sinyolo Girls, was on the bench.
“The new players have gelled well with the rest of the players and I they can only get better with more matches. We know school games are completely different from the league but they have the tenacity to make it in the top flight,” Senge said.
With Scorpions missing close to six first team regulars either due work commitment or injuries, Senge was forced to shuffle his pack as he seeks to win a maiden league title.
Experienced midfielder Laura Gichau has left the Madaraka-based institution for work commitments in the US while Angela Mayaka, Linda Ayodi, Lucy Wanjiku and Doreen Hongo, who missed the match due to work commitments, could return for subsequent matches.
“We are an institutional club and this is something we have to deal with. Players will always come and go but this allows us to nurture more young and upcoming ones,” he added.
Senge’s charges, who finished two points behind champions Telkom Orange last season, were in fine form against Vikings in the mid-week encounter.
Goals from Ruth Adhiambo, Kenyan international Gilly Okumu and Winnie Ingati secured the three points for the Scorpions.
The students settled early and dictated pace early on and could have opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Okumu combined well with skipper Yvonne Wanjiku but her effort was wide.
Strathmore University kept pushing for the opener and were rewarded in the 12th minute after poor defending by the Vikings backline.
Winnie Ingati effortlessly weaved through the Vikings’ defence and squared the ball to Adhiambo to slot home the opener.
Ingati, who was a constant threat, got involved for the second goal in the 25th minute. The defender fed Okumu who turned her marker inside out before firing past Vikings goalkeeper Esther Kariuki from a tight angle.
The impressive Ingati was rewarded with a goal in the second half when she showed great skill to lob Kariuki for her team’s third.