Kenya plans to stage the men and women’s North East region qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on May 11-17 at the Sikh Union Hockey Stadium in Nairobi have been put on hold.
This is after the African Hockey Federation (AHF) issued a statement Tuesday evening postponing all the 2020 international events as the coronavirus pandemic continues to bite.
At the same time, Africa Cup for Clubs Championship set for November 30 to December 5 in Malawi, Junior Africa Cup set for September 13-20 in Ghana as well as Indoor Africa Cup for June 12-14 in Durban South Africa have also been postponed.
Both events were to feature teams from both gender.
“Given the world wide development of coronavirus outbreak and following the World Health Organisation, International Olympic Committee and the International Hockey Federation directives as well as the measures taken by the governments of our events hosting countries with the respect to holding any sport gathering related activities, this is to announce that all AHF 2020 tournaments dates will be postponed until further notice. Another update will be made by the end of April," said AHF in a statement.
"The well-being of our players, coaches, officials, managers and administrators is our ultimate aim and is our first priority whilst planning any sports events, historically or in future.”
The men's team was scheduled to face Burundi, Libya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Seychelles where the top two nations were to proceed to next year’s Cup of Nations.
The ladies were to 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 they await the April communique from the African hockey governing body but also expressed fears that local league may not run as scheduled.
The league kicked off last month and was scheduled to end in December.
“The Ministry of Sports gave a 30-day suspension of all activities as at March 13, 2020, so we shall review after the said days. The likelihood of no international sports taking place this year is very high," Majiwa said.
"Even if the pandemic is contained by June, there will be no enough time for playing local league and also preparations for international events.”
Also shelved was the North-West region event that was set for June 14-21 in Ghana and was to feature Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo while Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe form the Central–South region that was set to host the qualifiers in August 21-30 in Zimbabwe.
The top two teams in each categories from the three regions were to join the top two ranked countries to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations. South Africa (women) and Egypt (men) are the top-ranked nations in the continent.