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Handball team out of Olympic qualifiers

Friday January 17 2020

Kenya national handball goalkeeper Nicholas Ndochi attempts to make a save during a training session at Nyayo National Stadium on January 9, 2020 ahead of Olympics qualifiers. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

Kenya national handball goalkeeper Nicholas Ndochi attempts to make a save during a training session at Nyayo National Stadium on January 9, 2020 ahead of Olympics qualifiers. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AGNES MAKHANDIA
By AGNES MAKHANDIA
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The Kenya men’s handball team is out of contention for the Tokyo Olympics tickets after failing to make the quarter-finals in the ongoing qualifiers at the Hammamet Indoor Sports Hall in Tunisia on Friday.

This was after the Peter Mwathi-coached side fell to Egypt 44-19 in their second match of the 10-day event.

Kenya had on Thursday dished free points after failing to honour their opening match against Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) having arrived late for the event.

With the two results, it means the East Africans will also miss out on the qualification for next year’s World Championships to be staged in Egypt. Kenya will now play in the classification matches.

At the end of the event, the winner will earn the sole ticket reserved for Africa at the Tokyo Games with the top six nations booking their place in the Worlds.

With Saturday a rest day for the teams, Mwathi will be seeking to guide his charges to victory against Guinea on Sunday as they seek to record their first win in the tourney.

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African champions Egypt have qualified for the last eight having recorded two wins so far in Pool "A" with a game to spare against DRC on Sunday.

Egypt beat Guinea 39-22 on Thursday before they hit Kenya 44-19.

LOCAL SCENE

In the local scene, Rangers have a chance to move to the top of the standings if they win all of their four matches this weekend as the Kenya Handball Federation men's league resumes Saturday at the Kaloleni grounds in Nairobi.

The self-sponsored outfit, who occupy fourth position with 18 points from 10 matches, will take on Makueni Bees and Buccaneers on Saturday before they wrap up their weekend outing with ties against Boomerang and Mt Kenya University-Thika on Sunday.

Wins against the four teams will see the Kimilili-based outfit amass 26 points which will see them topple Strathmore University from the summit for the table.

The students have 24 points from 12 matches same as second-placed Black Mamba while National Cereals and Produce Board are third on 22 points. The top three sides will not be in action this weekend as majority of their players are away in Tunisia with the national team.

Rangers coach Gerald Juma is aware of the task at hand this weekend.

“We are targeting all the eight points. Luckily, the players have been active participating in various open tournaments during the holiday and they are at a good place," said Juma, who doubles up as the Mbooni Boys coach. "It’s sad that we will miss Mike Mabonga who is nursing a knee injury. But we have able replacements in Elias Khisa and Blaise Mbakaya and I believe they will do well."

FIXTURES (All matches at Kaloleni grounds)

Saturday

Makueni Bees v Ranger (9am)

GSU v Boomerang (10:20am)

Warriors v JKUAT (11:40 am)

Inspired Boys v Makueeni (1pm)

Boomerang v MKU Thika (2:30pm)

Rangers v Bucaneers (4pm)

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