•The defending champions were a pale shadow of their former selves and looked disjointed in all departments
•Lakers coach Austin Tuju lauded the brave display from his charges despite losing
After a lacklustre 2-1 win over newbies Lakers in the women’s hockey Premier League at the City Park Stadium yesterday, Blazers coach Jos Openda wants his charges to up their fitness levels and play with rhythm.
The defending champions were a pale shadow of their former selves and looked disjointed in all departments. In a post-match interview, Openda expressed concern over the players' lack of fighting power upfront. Blazers' midfield was overrun and the shaky defence was at fault for the opening goal.
While the tactician attributed the lack of fitness to over two months stay without action, he wants the team to reclaim their rightful place in the women’s league. He said: “We are far from our best. We possessed the ball but struggled to kill the game. The team was sluggish and it’s down to low fitness levels. They played at 43% but hopefully, they will improve in the next match. It was a strange performance, to be honest, but they can improve.”
His counterpart Austin Tuju lauded the brave display from his charges despite losing. He promised to come back stronger next season, adding that they have made a statement despite the defeat. He said with their planned recruitment next year, the future is bright.
Mariam Nyakona opened the scoring for Lakers barely 10 minutes into the match after weaving unmarked into Blazers box. Jackie Mwangi restored parity eight minutes later after beating 16-year-old Millicent Adhiambo in goal to to to the break tied at 1-1. Barbara Simiyu made it 2-1 in the third quarter.
On Saturday, goals from captain Lina Barasa and Edna Vallerie were enough for Lakers to defeat Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology JKUAT 2-0. Blazers retained top spot with 29 points and play Kenyatta University Titans next weekend while Lakers moved to fourth with 18 and battle Sailors in the ultimate match on December 1.