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Return hockey to Olympics

Monday September 9 2019

EDITORIAL
By EDITORIAL
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As Team Kenya headed to 2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco, the national men’s and women’s hockey teams were in Stellenbosch, South Africa, for an African qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games.

The latter flopped in the August 11-18 event, which doubled as the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

In Kenya’s worst international tournament showing, the men came fifth in the six-team round-robin contest, winning a single match and losing the rest.

South Africa won all their matches and qualified to represent Africa at the Olympics for the fifth time.

During the 2016 Olympic qualifiers won by South Africa, Kenya finished third. The team posted similar results in the 2008 qualifiers but slumped to fourth place in the 2012 trials.

Kenyan men last competed in the Olympics three decades ago when a golden generation of players took part in the 1988 Games.

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The women fared no better. The team finished fourth in a five-team qualifier that saw South Africa qualify to represent Africa at the Games for the fifth consecutive time.

The selection for both teams was marred by a boycott by senior players owing to what they termed “lack of seriousness from KHU management, dictatorship and unpaid allowances”.

There were claims that coaches had little say in the team’s composition with reports that Kenya did not send its best players to South Africa.

The least Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) chairman Nahashon Randiek and his team should do is overhaul the team, make key changes at the KHU secretariat and clubs and replace the worn artificial turf at City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

The leagues are poorly run with teams complaining about officiating.

Urgent reforms and restructuring of local leagues will attract sponsors, making the sport more competitive and beneficial to stakeholders.

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