Kenya’s maiden appearance in the men’s five-a-side field hockey at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games ended on a high note after a 9-2 rout of Vanuatu in the classification match for position 11 and 12 in Buenos Aires, on Friday.
Kevin Lugalia’s boys got the better of the Oceania silver medallists with a brace each from Brian Ogenche, Edson Ndombi, Richard Wanganga and Captain Ouma Olando, while Bryton Ndwati contributed one goal at the Parque Polideportivo Roca. Vanuatu scored through Lovis Iawila and Nicholsen Job.
Both sides had endured underwhelming debuts at the Youth Olympics after losing five consecutive matches in the preliminaries.
The African Youth Games bronze medal winners had found themselves on the receiving end against Australia (7-0), Canada (4-3), India (7-1), Austria (4-3) and Bangladesh (4-3) in Pool ‘B’. Vanuatu lost against Malaysia (14-0), Argentina (18-0), Mexico (8-3), Poland (15-1) and Africa silver medallists Zambia (17-1) in Pool ‘A’.
Kenya announced its intentions of a win taking a 2-0 lead inside the opening three minutes through Wanganga and Ogenche, but were quickly checked when Iawila pulled one goal back in the fourth minute.
Olando then gave Kenyans some breathing space in the fifth minute before Ndombi struck twice in the last two minutes of the first half to establish some daylight.
Ogenche and Wanganga completed their braces before Vanuatu added their second goal through Nicholsen Job in the 17th minute. Kenya had the last laugh through Olando seconds from the final whistle.
With hockey action over for Kenya, the East Africans now turn their focus to athletics where they are known to be world-beaters. Two hundred and six countries entered this year’s edition, with Kenya taking part in field hockey men’s five-a-side and athletics.