Kenya seek to end a decade of failed dreams
Posted Friday, December 11 2009 at 22:00
- The hosts face Herculean task in bid to end North African dominance
Kenyan clubs face a tall order as they seek to end a long drought when the 21st Africa Cup Clubs Championship begins on Saturday at the City Park.
Telkom Kenya, who got a boost on Friday when their sponsor unveiled a new kit for the tournament, are out to reclaim the title they won last in 2007 when Kenya hosted the championships.
Telkom Kenya, who lost the title to Nigeria’s Imo Heartland, who beat them 4-2 in the final in Abuja last year, will team up with Sliders in the contest that has five teams.
The other teams are champions Heartland and their compatriots, Bayelsa and Wetherland from Uganda.
Sliders, who vowed to make no room for mistakes, will open the week-long championship against Bayelsa at 9.30am, while Telkom will close the Day One action against Wetherland from 4pm.
In the men’s category, it’s been over a decade since Kenya last won the title, through the defunct Armed Forces team.
National champions, Kisumu Simba, and Green Sharks have a mountain to climb at the City Park grounds in their quest to halt the Northern Africa teams’ decade of dominance.
The men’s competition fixtures have been revised and will now be played on a round-robin format.
This has been occasioned by the late withdrawal of Nigeria’s Delta Force and Wananchi from Uganda.
Six teams will now battle it out for the continental top honours.
Besides the Kenyan sides, 17-time defending champions, Sharkia and Eastern Club all from Egypt are out to quell the mutiny that has been building up. Other teams are Yobe Desert Rollers from Nigeria and Moshi Khalsa of Tanzania.
Green Sharks will launch their maiden quest for continental glory against Yobe Desert Rollers at 2pm just after defending champions Sharkia take on Moshi Khalsa.
Kisumu Simba are not in action Saturday but will be facing Eastern Sunday at 2pm.
Even though Kisumu Simba have been struggling in the local league, their coach, Parminder “Kake” Saini, has vowed to unleash a different brand of hockey.
Green Sharks are out to shed the green-horn tag and assert their supremacy. Other bigwigs, Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon – who have been consistent fixtures in the tournament – will not send any teams, but the organisers are firm that that won’t water down the level of the tournament.
Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) vice chairman Nahashon Randiek said despite the withdrawals, Kenya is ready to host a successful tournament.