Bad outing by national teams in Cairo continental tournament leaves Kenya out of FIH World Cup qualifiers with identical fourth position
Kenya men and women national hockey teams put up a poor show finishing fourth in the October 2017 Africa Cup of Nations competition, a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup . Both teams finished fourth in their competition which was won by South Africa teams.
The 2017 Cup of Nations was the best shot for Kenya to make it to the World Cup after Kenyan clubs put up a stellar performance in the January Africa Cup of Club Championships at City Park Stadium, Nairobi. The combo of the talents from various clubs in Kenya seemed to be the strategy but things fell apart as other teams were better prepared in the competition at the Suez Canal Hockey Stadium in Ismailia, Egypt.
The two national teams lost their respective third play-off clashes to end up finishing fourth on the final day of action. Kenyan men lost 3-5 to Ghana while their counterparts failed to beat Nigeria in a post-match penalty shoot outs. Kenyan women lost 2-1 in the penalties after finishing regular time tied at 3-3. Kenyan men thus lost twice to Ghanaians after an earlier 3-0 loss in the pool stage opening clash.
The ladies team was handed yet another loss in the hands of Nigeria despite Kenya being the better side in play-off match. Skipper Lilian Aura, Pauline Naise, Audrey Omaido and Yvonne Karanja failed to score during the penalties to see Nigeria confirm their earlier 1-0 win over the Kenya to deny our local queens the bronze medal.
Bright moments were however also noted in the competition, youngsters both in the men’s and women’s sides were noted. Telkom Kenya’s Maureen Okumu, USIU-Africa’s Sandra Vodoti and Strathmore’s Yvonne Karanja put up a good show despite the fourth finish. In the men’s camp, Constant Wakhura and Festus Onyango put in a good show as well as they put in solid efforts to hunt points for Kenya despite the setbacks.
The men’s side currently lies at position 42 in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) rankings while their women counterparts are ranked 40th. South African teams are ranked first in Africa make the world’s top 15 cut.
Egypt comes in second in the men’s division while Ghana are third followed by Kenya and Nigeria. Ghana women’s team trail South Africa followed by Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt respectively.
Telkom bag ninth ACCC title in Nairobi Telkom Kenya women’s hockey club lifted a record ninth Africa Cup for Club Championships title here in Nairobi in January after beating Ghana Revenue Authority 2-0 in the Cup finals. Telkom’s title defence was historic making it their fifth title and 10th in total under coach Jos Openda who maintains that his target is to win most titles on the continental event to enter the Guinness Book of Records.
The tournament held at the City Park saw Orange finish the tournament unbeaten and having conceded only two goals. Kenyan clubs representation in the tournament was exemplary with Butali Warriors also bagging the bronze medal in the men’s category after beating Ghana Police 3-0 in another thrilling match. Butali settled for the bronze place after falling 4-6 post-match penalty shoot outs to the defending champs Eastern Company from Egypt.
Ghana Police had been teargased 4-1 by Kenya Police to drop to the third/fourth play-offs. Kenya Police on the other hand shocked many after reaching the cup finals while on a debut.
The local law enforcers seemed to be the favourites of the match after beating Eastern Company 2-1 in their pool stage match but penalty prowess of the Pharaohs handed them a win over inexperienced Police.