Thorough pre-season spurs Wazalendo

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Wazalendo assistant coach James Mwangi believes a comprehensive pre-season training is the reason behind their current Kenya Hockey Union Premier League form.

The Nairobi-based have a 100 per cent record three matches into the new season and are yet to concede to sit top of the standings with nine points, tied with Jaguars. Defending champions Butali Warriors are third with six points and a game in hand. .

Wazalendo began the season in mid-March with a 3-0 mauling of Greensharks before ending the month in clinical style,  edging out Sikh Union 1-0. Their fine run continued on April 13 when they whipped pre-match favourites Strathmore University Gladiators by a solitary strike.

Confidence is at it’s best in the Wazalendo camp as Mwangi observed. “We are having a good season and are on our best run at the moment. We had a proper pre-season where we worked on solidifying our defence because it was an area we had earmarked for  improvement,” said Mwangi.

“The results are down to confidence we have instilled in the boys. We have given them the freedom to express themselves on the pitch and are playing to our tune. The have tremendously repaid our faith.”

Mwangi added that their promoted youngsters have also outdone themselves. “We have had our young players from the youth set up rise to the challenge of playing in the first team,” he said. “They have taken the league by storm and the results are a manifestation of the tireless work we are doing but we have to make it more vibrant and fascinating.”

“We boast a pool of academy talents such as goalkeeper Bright Kizigwe, defenders Stanley Chege and John Omondi and attacking sensations in Joseph Kasilu and Nelson Shilaku, just but to mention a few,” he observed, adding that the capture of defender Riuba Otoro from Nakuru and attacker Danston Barry has added punch into the squad and enabled tactical tweaks.

“The players who have come in understand the team’s philosophy and give us a different option which can make us have a slight tactical change. It makes our preparations for upcoming fixtures easy as we can adjust to counter the opponents style of play,” said Mwangi.

He did not rule out dethroning Butali at the end of the season.

He said: “To be crowned champions, we have to compete with the best. We respect Butali but we do not fear them. We will give them a hard time and hopefully it will be an entertaining season. Our objective is to challenge for the title.”

Wazalendo face Sailors in their next encounter on May 18.

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