By Gibo Zachary , People Daily Digital
Kenya Handball Federation (KHF) men and women national league champions, National Cereal and Produce Board (NCPB) and Nairobi Water Queens respectively, begun the 2021 East and Central Africa Handball Club Championships (ECAHCC) on a winning note in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
NCPB playing in Group A that also comprises Jeshi la Kujenga Taifa (JKT) and Ngome, both teams from host nation Tanzania thrashed JKT 42-21 to send a message of intent that the Kenyan champions are in the championship to win the title.
NCPB were dominated from start to finish, taking a 22-8 halftime lead before wrapping up the show with another good show in the second half (20-13) for the comprehensive 42-21 victory at full time.
Thodias Sangoro led NCPB’s onslaught with 8 goals assisted by William Malui (5), Brian Makokha (5), Francis Sande (5), Snox Collins (4), Peter Omondi (3), Clinton Maiko (3), Nicholas Oduor (2), Nicholas Okere (2), Christopher Mayende (2), Cyrus Mukhonji (1), and John Wante (1).
Regional reigning champions Nairobi Water Queens on their side faced JKT Women’s Handball Club beating them 42-20. Queens took a commanding 19-11 halftime lead, then sealed off the victory with a 23-9 for the impressive 42-20 tournament-opening match.
Queens’ Brenda Musambai was the star of the match with nine goals, followed by namesake Brenda Ariviza and Gladys Chilo, both scoring eight goals each with Cecilia Katheu (5 goals), Vallarie Adhiambo (4), Rose Ambungo (2), Faith Mikhala (2) as well as Elizabeth Kimei (1), Eucabeth Opal (1), Tracy Awino (1), and Molvine Akinyi (1) joining the scoring party.
“Good match from the girls though didn’t expect much resistance from. JKT. They tried they played well especially in the first half but we were brilliant in the second half,” Nairobi Water Queens coach Jack Habett Ochieng told People Sport.
NCPB men’s Handball Club, and Nairobi Water Queens alongside NCPB women’s Handball Club and former national league champions Black Mamba are the emissaries representing the country in the annual regional handball extravaganza championship.
Black Mamba are in Group B that also features Nyuki of Tanzania and Rwanda Police of Rwanda while NCPB Women’s team and Nairobi Water Queens as well as Ngome Women’s Handball Club (Tanzania), Rwanda Women (Rwanda and JKT Women’s Handball Club (Tanzania), are all grouped in one pool and will play in a round-robin format to determine the overall winner.
Nairobi Water Queens are the women’s regional six-time and current defending champions, the title they won in Rwanda in 2019 and with the 2020 edition cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreak, and coach Jack Habett Ochieng is optimistic that the Kenyan Queens who have won the Kenyan women’s national league eight times in a row are ready to defend their regional title.
“Our plans for the tournament is to win all matches to retain the trophy. We’re on course and we want to maintain that until the end,” coach Habett said.
At the time of going to press, Black Mamba were scheduled to take on Nyuki (men) of Tanzania in a battle of venom vs sting, then NCPB women facing off with Ngome (women) before Ngome (Men) test the weight of NCPB men from 3 pm.