Kenya will host the men and women’s North East region qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations set for May 11-17 at the Sikh Union Hockey Stadium in Nairobi.
The men's team will face Burundi, Libya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Seychelles where the top two nations will proceed to the next year’s Cup of Nations.
The ladies will battle favourites Egypt, Burundi, Libya, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda for the two slots.
Kenya Hockey Union deputy match and fixture secretary, Moses Majiwa, said it was an honour for the country to host the inaugural event.
“This is one of the kind. While it might be a walk in the park for the men’s competition, the ladies will have to rise to occasion with the presence of Egypt. But all in all we hope that both teams will qualify for the event and then we will see what happens from there,” said the official.
“The new development by the Africa Hockey Federation to have nations participate within their regions is good for the sport's development. Kenya has in the recent times performed poorly during the Cup of Nations due to team’s poor preparations. We are therefore reaching out to the government to support these teams to have proper preparations including playing international friendly matches prior to event.”
Both the men and women's teams finished last during the 2019 Nations Cup that was held in Egypt. Egypt won the men’s version while South Africa won the ladies title.
North-West region has Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo while Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe form the Central–South region.
The top two teams in each categories from the three regions will then join the top two ranked countries to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations.
The overall winner will book a ticket to the 2022/23 World Cup while the runners up will participate in the World Cup qualifier.