Nairobi News

SportsWhat's Hot

Hockey teams must keep their eyes on the prize for victory in Kampala

Hockey teams musk keep their eyes on the prize for victory in Kampala—Brian Yonga

Two Kenyan hockey clubs taking part in the African Hockey Club Championship in Kampala began their campaign on the right footing and raising prospects of possible medals.

The women’s teams, defending champions Telkom Orange and Strathmore Scorpions have qualified for the knockout stage after impressive performances in their group matches where they were winners.

However, men’s representatives Nairobi Simba and Kenya Police have found the going tough. Their fate is in their own hands, they have a tall order to win their remaining matches to progress in the championship.

The league champions Telkom are seeking their ninth crown at the continental club tournament, a mission they are executing with precision.

They had no respect for their opening opponents and are daring others to bring on the challenge. The team beat hosts Weatherhead 6-0, sending a clear signal of their intention to retain the title.

In their second match, Telkom blanked Twende from Tanzania 3-0 to book a slot in the semi-finals.

On the other hand, Strathmore began their quest for the title with an 11-0 hammering of Kampala Hockey Club. Captain Lucy Wanjiku led the demolition with four goals, Lucy Wanjiku netted three while Laura Gichau, Linda Ayodi, Caroline Njoki and Eva Nkatha had one each.

In their second game, they beat Ghana Revenue Authority 2-1, avenging their loss during last year’s championship in Zimbabwe.

The women’s’ teams have skipped their first hurdles and attention now shifts to the men who face stiff challenge.

Kenyan international Zack Aura who plays for Kisumu Simba said the teams would have to give nothing short of the best if they habour dreams of bringing the trophy back home.

“Having previously played at the continental club championship, I must say competition is very high. My hope is Kenyan teams do well,” said Aura.

He added that defending champions Sharkia from Egypt are the greatest threat to Nairobi Simba and Kenya Police’s title ambitions.

“Sharkia are no pushovers, but Simba and Police should not be scared of them. They are equally strong teams,” he said.

Simba and Police will be aiming to end the country’s 16-year wait for an African trophy. Nairobi Simba, who won silver in 1990, are making their first appearance at the event in over two decades while Police won silver during their debut in Zambia in 2012.

The defunct Armed Forces teams is the only Kenyan side to have won the African title in 1998 in Namibia.

A good outing by the Kenyan clubs will go a long way in redeeming the image of the sports that was dented during last year’s Africa Cup of Nations. Hosts Kenya  failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Kenya Hockey Union chairman Nahshon Randiek is confident of good results, saying the players are experienced.