Kenya teams must qualify in Africa to reach World Cup
AFTER the national hockey teams (men and women) dismal performance in the just ended World League One series in Accra, Ghana at the weekend, the teams will now have to rely on next year’s African continental qualifiers to reach the 2018 World Cup.
In the last edition held in Nairobi in 2014, the national women’s team advanced to the second round which was staged in Uruguay while the men’s team failed to go past the first round.
As the event came to a wrap at the Theodocia Okoe National Hockey Pitch on Sunday, Kenyan teams finished second behind hosts Ghana, who will now advance to the second round of the men’s and women’s competition to be held in Bangladesh and Valencia respectively next year.
Both Kenyan sides went down 1-0 to the Ghanaian teams to bow out of contention despite starting the competition with wins. The men’s team had beaten Nigeria 3-1 in their opening match while their women counterparts saw off stubborn Nigeria 4-3.
The men’s team beat Namibia 7-2 in their final match on Sunday night but this was not enough as Ghana came back from behind to reign supreme against Nigeria 3-1 to the seal top spot.
The decision to leave out key players among them experienced Kenya Police defender Richard Birir (men) and the Amira Sailors forward Lorraine Nondi ( women) and poor preparations prior to the competition have been cited as factors that contributed to the dismal performance.