Hockey: Kenya fall to Austria in Youth Olympics

Thursday October 11 2018

Kenya's Richard Wanganga in action during the African Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria in July 2018. PHOTO | COURTESY |

Kenya's Richard Wanganga in action during the African Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria in July 2018. PHOTO | COURTESY |  

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Kenya's woes at the ongoing Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina continued on Wednesday as they lost 4-3 to Austria in the men’s five-a-side field hockey.

Kevin Lugalia’s men gave as much as they got, but Marcin Nyckowiak denied the Kenyan lads a point after netting the winner for Austria a few seconds from time.

Yannick Matousek put the Europeans ahead in the second minute, but Kenya’s response was almost immediate, with Brian Ogenche Nyabuto levelling matters in the fourth minute. Paul Drusany restored Austria’s lead in the ninth minute before Nyckowiak made it 3-1 a minute later.

Kenyans pulled one goal back just before halftime through Richard Wanganga. The 2018 Africa Youth Games bronze medallists then equalised four minutes after the break courtesy of Nyabuto. However, just when Lugalia’s charges thought they had earned their first point in the event, Austria struck the winning goal seconds from the final.

The loss was Kenya’s fourth in a row in Pool ‘B’ after heavy defeats to Australia (7-0), India (7-1) and Canada (4-3).

This latest defeat effectively ended Kenya’s slim hopes of advancing to the quarter-finals as they will need a miracle of beating Bangladesh by more than five unanswered goals and Canada to lose by a huge margin in order to finish fourth in Group 'B'. The first four teams from the group will enter the last eight. At the moment, Australia, India and Austria are through.

Australia lead the table with 12 points after stunning tournament favourites India 3-2 on Wednesday. India and Austria occupy position two and three respectively with nine points each. Canada and Bangladesh have three points apiece, while Kenya is last without a point.

Argentina lead Pool ‘A’ with 12 points after winning their fourth consecutive match 4-2 against Malaysia on Wednesday. The Argentines along with second-placed Malaysia are through to the quarter-finals.

Poland and Mexico are also on the brink of reaching the last eight. They are placed third and fourth respectively with six points apiece. A huge win for fifth-ranked Zambia against bottom-placed Vanuatu plus a big victory for Malaysia against Poland or a big win for Argentina against Mexico could see the African side sail through on goal difference.

Zambia have amassed three points, while Vanuatu is without a point. The last round of group stage action is on Thursday, with Kenya facing Bangladesh at 6.30pm.