The 2021 Kenya Handball Federation (KHF) season that threw off on the weekend of March 20th with seven matches on the card came to a close last Sunday.
Other than the teams headed to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for the East and Central Africa Club Championship – it will be a well deserved break for many. There is Xmas and New Year looming in the horizon.
The league involved a total of 27 teams- eight women and 19 men’s sides were in participation making it a very memorable year by all standards.
It was twenty weeks of intense action punctuated with a three month break after sports was halted due to corvid surge -, the games resumed on June 26 and roared all the way to November 20th with a tough as iron tie tie between Black Mamba and Ulinzi.
The Kaloleni based side, having just been kitted and assured of a ticket to Dar for the regional show, were not going to let this one slip away. Mamba, spitting venom here, there and everywhere even at a time late on in the game when there were only four red shirts on the court….talk about grit, determination and will.
Ulinzi, the highest scoring team in the league, threw everything to salvage this nip and tuck encounter. In the end it was Mamba who were victorious a close 31-30 win. It was a fitting meeting to mark the end of the season.
Without goals, no sport will be exiting at all and handball is no exception. The matches saw teams record a total of 23,190 goals (17,264 Men+5926 Women).
Take a keen look at Ulinzi here and stop wondering why they are tops in this category… always roaring always sure of where the opposing net is.
The soldiers are leading the pack here by rattling in 684 against 429 and this earned them 28 points which was only good for fifth position !
In the women’s category, Water Queens, the only side in the entire league the who finished their ties without losing any of their 14 games rattled in 534 goals while conceding a low of 224.
There were teams too, though they are not many- that were on a groove offensively- hitting half a centuries scores (50+).
Men- Strathmore University 53-8 Vickers, Ulinzi 53-18 Tuk. NCPB 51-17 Gunners, Ulinzi 54-16 Generation, Ulinzi 53-26 Vickers.
Women- NCPB 50-14 Amazon, Nairobi Water 55-19 Rangers.
While Generations and Amazons soaked the highest number of goals (638 and 504).
Nanyuki and Amazons tallied the lowest scores both being hit hard by eventual winners Nairobi Water 59-9 and 47-11 respectively.
In the men, it was Vickers, Jkuat and Generation who recorded the lowest scoring tallies 53-8, 36-12 and 43-13 against Strathmore and NCPB in that order.
When the final whistle sounds, it marks an end to every match and at times some tight ones that are sadly separated by a goal or two……
A classic case is the final fixture of the year that saw Black Mamba pip Ulinzi 31-30. This nip and tuck encounter would have gone either way.
There were many other tight duels to note as well and seventh placed Buccaneers interestingly are involved in four of them !
GSU 28-26 KU, Rangers 30-28 KU, Ulinzi 23-21 Buccaneers, Ulinzi 31-32 KU, Inspired 24-25 Tuk, Tuk 30-29 Buccaneers, Boomerang 36-38Tuk, Rangers 26-27Jkuat, Tuk.27-29 Generation, Boomerang 22-23 GSU.
Thika 32-33 Buccaneers, Rangers 22-23 GSU, Jkuat 25-23 Inspired, NCPB 27-25 Black Mamba, KU 37-39 Thika, Buccaneers 28-30 KU, Jkuat 20-18 Gunners, Rangers 29-30 Nanyuki, Tuk 27-25 Gunners, Ulinzi 28-29 NCPB.
Women- NCPB 26-27 Nanyuki, Ulinzi Sharks 26-25 NCPB. Nairobi Water 29-28 Ulinzi Sharks, Rangers 29-30 Nanyuki.
There were ties which registered high scores. Sample these ones. Rangers 43-43 Thika, Boomerang 29-29 Buccaneers and TUK 33-33 Thika while in the women- Nanyuki 26-26 KU,
AND THE WINNER IS
NCPB Men 2020/2021 League Champions
Nairobi Water Queens 2020/2021 League Champions
NCPB won a close race reminding me of the yesteryears where the likes of Vinny Mrimba, Georgiadis Madegwa (now living in the diaspora), Paul Pudo, Maxwell Zange, Victor Siero, Kevin Ida and goalkeeper Charles Kisilu rampantly dominated this sport like a collosus under Peter Mwathi who is now at Strathmore University
The students are second and are closing in on their first title, Black Mamba are third with GSU, Ulinzi and Kenyatta University finishing in that order completing a line up of six that booked a ticket to the Super Cup early next year.
Nairobi Water Queens – a team that Jack Ochieng built – made it eight titles in a row. And with a star studded line up that he has, it is safe to say they are building a dynasty of their own.
NCPB of the mid 90s had the Madegwa sisters led by captain Grace and Sheila, Edna Kassandi, (current tm) Hellen Nzisa, Valery Akinyi as well as goal keeper Caroline Kusa (now h2o tm) pure talent.
Second placed Ulinzi Sharks if they stay together will be a force, NCPB will of course continue to build and Nanyuki who were fourth will pull up as well. Super Cup results will attest to this.
And it is worth noting that a good crowd turned up to watch the matches on the last weekend. They missed the action and you could see from their enthusiasm and the fact that they still milled around the court not ready to go home even after the curtain came down !
Handball is alive and kicking. See you 2022 and our prayers are that the gates will remain open for all and sundry. Asimeto has his feet firmly on the ground but give us return fixtures in all matches bana.
WE ARE HANDBALL, HANDBALL IS US.