NATIONAL champions Co-operative Bank of Kenya open their 2013 Premier League campaign against Thunder at the Nyayo Stadium gymnasium on March 23.
According to the fixtures released yesterday by the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) competitions secretary, Joseph Amoko, a total of 11 matches are on card with the bankers game forming the main highlight of the opening weekend.
On the same day, Mennonites face off against Blazers who barely survived the axe while the women match of the day will see Co-op Bank side confront the self-sponsored Safe Spaces. Mennonites have a date with newly promoted Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA).
Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), who briefly thought they had moved to the top tier after Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) announced they had withdrawn their sponsorship of Lions only for the pioneer club to bounce back as a self supporting team, Play Little Prince.
On Sunday, United States International University (USIU) "Tigers" who stunned all by losing to Co-op in the finals start their programme with a match against promoted Nakuru Club who are back in the top tier after a brief stint at the lower division
Lions, who are four times league winners, will start life as a self supporting since their inception in the 19080's as they face off against Division One champions Nairobi Aviation College (NAC) who are making their debut at the top level.
Nairobi Basketball Association (NBA) champions Equity Bank tackle Trailblazers where they hope to make an immediate impact while Parklands Baptists have a date with relegated KCA who should pose all sorts of problems.
Amoko said this time round, the league will get off early to avoid dragging up till mid December as has been the case for the last few years. He said that the pre-season tournament, that will be used to gauge the teams, will take place a week before the league.