Kenya to host hockey Africa Nations Cup in November
17 October 2013, 07:31
Nairobi - Kenya will finally host at the hockey Africa Nations Cup tournament in November after getting the nod from both Africa Hockey Federation (AfHF) and International Hockey Federation (FIH).
The tournament, which was to be staged in Nairobi at the beginning of October, was postponed at the last minute after a terror attack, linked to Al Shabaab, hit Nairobi at Westgate Mall killing at least 67 people and injuring another 175.
In a letter to the organisers, Nii Quaye-Kumah, the African Hockey Federation Secretary General, confirmed that the tournament is on after the security situation in Kenya improved.
Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) wrote to AFHF to get the dates changed owing to the insecurity in the country at that time.
"The dates have been agreed upon for the 2013 cup of nations. The tournament will now run from November 18-24," said Kumah in a letter to KHU. The championships were initially set for Sept. 26 to Oct. 2.
The continental body also said that four countries have also withdrawn from the tournament citing security concerns and lack of funds.
Namibia, Nigeria and Seychelles will join another bigwig Egypt, who pulled out of the tournament two months ago because they could not get humble time to train back at home due to political uprising in Egypt.
This leaves South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya as the only teams who have confirmed participation.
"FIH and AfHF have jointly released the match schedule and the technical panel for the 2013 Edition of the Africa Cup for Nations Competition to be held in Nairobi," said the statement.
"In the women's category, Ghana and Tanzania will set the stadium alive in the first match of the competition before hosts Kenya lock horns later with top seeds South Africa in both the women and men's competitions," said Kumah.
Both men and women's competitions will follow the one-pool league format. The two top teams will clash for the ultimate prize and the right to represent Africa at the 2014 FIH World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.
FIH also introduced new rules and regulations to be used in the tournament in Nairobi.
"It will be exciting to see how the players, the team officials and umpires will cope with these regulations. The prospects of a thrilling contest beckons," said Nashon Randiek, KHU Chairman.
This will be the second time that Kenya will be staging the tournament, having staged it back in 1995. Nairobi also hosted the Olympic qualifiers in 2007.
AfHF granted Kenya the rights to stage the tournament, after initially sanctioning Egypt. However, political tension and unrest in the land of Pharaohs has gifted Nairobi to be considered ahead of Johannesburg as the alternative host venue.
"It is an honour for us to edge out South Africa to stage this tournament. We have hosted before the Africa Club Championships and it is an honour to host this event. We are determined to make it a success," said Randiek.
South Africa have been dominating the men's African Cup of Nations for a long while now. They have won this event for the six consecutive times since cornering glory in the 1993 edition in Nairobi. Egypt have won it twice while Ghana won it once. The men edition will be marking its tenth edition.
In the women's edition, now marking its seventh, South Africa have held the sway, winning the championship for six consecutive times with Zimbabwe winning it once. But
Kenya also stand a big chance to win, especially now that they are hosting the tournament.
The inaugural men's African Cup of Nations was held in Cairo, Egypt, where Ghana won the crown. The inaugural women's African Cup of Nations was held in Harare, Zimbabwe with the host claiming the title.
Bulawayo in Zimbabwe hosted the last tournament in 2011 with South Africa edging out Egypt 1-0 to claim the title in men's category. The women's title went to South Africa, who thumped Kenya 5-0.