Kenya men’s and women’s hockey teams are hopeful they will weather the storm and conquer the continent’s best teams at Africa Nations Cup in Ismailia, Egypt starting on Oct. 22-29.

Organizers of the week-long tournament have confirmed that six countries will compete in the men’s and women’s event being Kenya, host Egypt, giants South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana.

The winning teams from the continental showpiece will secure their tickets to next year’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India.

Kenya’s head coach Meshack Senge remained optimistic his teams will prevail despite ranking lower than Egypt and South Africa.

“We have had seven friendly matches to boost our preparation and we have worked on our tactical and technical approach to the games and there is no need to worry. We will always open up teams and hopefully our defense will host firm,” said Senge, Monday in Nairobi.

Kenya will have to do without captain and U.S.-based Betsi Omalla in the tournament. Kenya’s hockey Union chairman Nahashon Randiek confirmed the team will depart for Egypt on October 20 having secured sponsorship from the government worth U.S.dollar 75,000.

Kenya women’s team will launch their title chase against champions South Africa before facing Ghana. Other matches will be against Nigeria, Zambia and Egypt.

The men’s team has their task cut out with host Egypt in their first assignment ahead of meeting Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia.
Egyptians hold the pre-tournament favorites tag, having won the African title as far back as 1983 and would be spurned on by home support to attempt to snatch the trophy from defending champions, South Africa.

The South Africans remain the teams to beat in both the men’s and women’s competition. In 1993 when they first defeated Egypt in Nairobi to win their maiden African Cup, South Africa have won the men’s trophy seven consecutive times.

Apart from the 2000 tournament where South Africa defeated Kenya in the final to win the trophy, they have always held a stranglehold over Egypt in subsequent finals.

Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia are yet to win the continental titles. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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