Hockey: Kenya requests for more slots in Africa Cup
Western Jaguars and Lakers have a chance to participate in this month’s Africa Cup for Hockey Clubs Champions at the Sikh Union grounds in Nairobi.
The continental club event will run on February 13 to 19.
The two sides finished third in the men’s and women’s Premier League in the 2022 season which ended on Sunday.
According to tournament rules, the top two teams in both leagues qualify for the annual continental club event. So far, the four Kenyan slots have been filled by Butali Sugar Warriors, Kenya Police, Strathmore University and Blazers.
Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) chairman Nashon Randiek Wednesday confirmed they had written a letter to the Africa Hockey Federation (AfHF) to allow the country field three teams in both genders by virtue of being hosts.
“It’s just a matter of time before we know the fate of the two teams (Lakers and Jaguars) .Of course the first two teams automatically qualified for the event. But we are optimistic of a positive feedback,” said Randiek.
Kenya last hosted the event in 2017 at the City Park Hockey Stadium in Nairobi.
Butali and Police, who have failed to participate in subsequent events due to financial constraints, won bronze and silver behind eventual winners Eastern Company of Egypt.
Police fell to Eastern Company 3-2 in the final, while Butali beat Ghana Police 3-0 in the third-place play-offs.
Blazers overpowered Ghana Revenue Authority 2-0 in the final in the women’s final.
KHU Deputy Fixture Secretary Moses Majiwa said should the continental body heed to the their request, Jaguars and Lakers players will get exposure and experience.
“I think it will be a plus for us and more so to the players who have never played outside Kenya. They will now have a chance to compete in a championship and against players from different countries, the feeling is always different,” said Majiwa.
A total of 18 foreign clubs have so far confirmed participation.
The event was previously scheduled to be hosted at the Kenton College in Kileleshwa before it was moved Sikh Union due to unavailability of the facility as the students will be in session.
Record champions El Sharkia of Egypt lead the foreign legion alongside compatriots Zamalek, Exchequers and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) of Ghana, Hippos Hockey Club of Zimbabwe, Kada Stars and Police Machine of Nigeria as well as Wananchi and Weatherheads of Uganda and Moshi Khalsa from Tanzania.
Defending women’s champions GRA and Army Ghana, Sharkia, Delta and Kada Queens from Nigeria, Deliverance Church and Wananchi from Uganda have also confirmed their participation in the seven-day event.
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