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Kenya to have four teams in African club hockey tourney

18 December 2013, 13:59

Nairobi - Kenya will have four teams in the Africa Hockey Club Championships, which will be held in Kampala, Uganda from Jan. 12-18, 2014.

Over 25 teams from host Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Egypt and Seychelles will be taking part in the week-long tournament, in which the winner will represent the continent at the World Club Championships next year in The Hague, Netherlands.

From Kenya, league champion Telkom Orange will be joined by Strathmore University as the women teams while the men's will be league winners Nairobi Simba and runners up Kenya Police.

"We have entered four teams in the Africa Club Championships. This is an important tournament, in which we hope to excel in both men and women competitions," said Nahashon Randiek, Kenya Hockey Union Chairman.

"Telkom Orange have been doing well, but it is time our men teams dominated the event, though teams from Ghana and Egypt will be a threat."

The continental showpiece was to be held in the first week of December but was pushed to January to allow teams to train adequately after most of their players had taken part in the Africa Nations Cup tournament that ended in Nairobi on Nov. 18.

Orange head coach Jos Openda remained optimistic; his tide will weather the storm and retain the title for the second year in a row.

"Of course, Telkom Orange will be the team to beat. We are the Champions and everyone will be eying our scalp. But it will not be easy. We are under pressure as defending champions, the girls are not ready to let go off the title and we will fight tooth and nail to retain it," he said.

Openda was also quick to admit that it will not be easy because the hockey standards have gone up in the continent.

"Hockey standards have gone up and Ghana players displayed better quality hockey in the Africa Nations Cup tournament that ended in Nairobi in November. Everyone is going out for the win and this will flavour the contest."

Telkom Orange beat Custom Ladies of Ghana 4-2 in post-match penalties to grab the coveted title in last year's finals in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

While Telkom Orange women team will be seeking to retain the title the Kenyan men will be battling to dethrone Sharkia hockey club of Egypt who have denied them the title for 15 years. Kenya last won in 1998 when the Kenya Army team beat Sharkia to grab the title.

The last time Kenyan men came close to winning was in 2011 when Strathmore Gladiators went down 4-2 to Sharkia to settle for silver. Sharkia will seek to win their record 22nd title.

Kenya police will be making their third appearance while Strathmore women team will seek to improve on their fifth place finish in last year's event.

- Xinhua


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