Kenya teams must qual­ify in Africa to reach World Cup

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports -

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.

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