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Final women’s hockey squad for World League named

Five new players have been included in the final list of the national women’s hockey team that is set to take part in the World League two series that gets underway in Montevideo, Uruguay on Saturday.

The five will make their debut in the Olympic qualifying event where Kenya will be seeking to make it to the final round from which eight teams will seal their places in next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Jenairo, Brazil.

The surprise inclusion has to be that of Mount Kenya University’s (MKU) goalkeeper Shirley Liyavuli who got the nod ahead of Ruth Njoki.

Other players who got their first call ups are Sandra Vodoti of Kenyatta University, Rhoda Nyambura and USIU’s defender Beatrice Mbugua who has been outstanding for the club this season.

However, the big exclusion has to be that of Telkom Orange striker Margaret Rotich who did not make the team despite a good season with both club and country. Rotich helped Orange notch a record seventh African Club Championship and 17th league crown last year.

The forward has been part of the national team since 2008 and scored two goals during last year’s World League one series helping the county advance to the second round.

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Other players who also failed to make the team are Glen Namasake, also of Orange, Anita Agunda (Sliders) as well Doreen Barasa and goalkeeper Njoki.

The team will be captained by Bettsy Omalla who was voted the most valuable player during the first round event while Pauline Naise who finished as top scorer will lead Kenya’s forward line assisted by the evergreen Jackline Jow Wangeci and Lillian Aura.

Coach Jos Openda expressed confidence that the team has what it takes to reach the next round and will not fear any of their opponents when they take to the pitch on Saturday.

Kenya opens its campaign against France on Saturday before taking on Trinidad and Tobago and Azerbaijan in their subsequent Pool A matches.

“There is a blend of youth and experience in the squad and I know they are relishing to prove their worth in the completion. We know nothing about our opponents but we are going there to seal a spot in the next round,” Openda told Daily Nation Sport.

The travelling party  of 18 players and 10 officials including a government official are set to leave the country on Thursday afternoon at 4pm according to head of delegation Elynah Shiveka.

Team: Cynthia Onyango, Betsy Omalla (Captain), Terry Juma, Lorraine Nondi, Flavian Mutiva, Caroline Guchu, Audrey Omaido, Lilian Aura, Tracy Nungari, Elizabeth Ngombo, Rachel Ousa, Yvonne Wanjiku (Assistant Captain), Pauline Naise, Vodoti Sandra, Jackline Mwangi, Beatrice Mbugua, Rhoda Nyambura, Shirley Liyavuli.