NAIROBI, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Telkom hockey team head coach Jos Openda is under pressure to recapture the African Cup of Clubs Championship, which will be held in Abuja, Nigeria from Dec. 17-24.
Speaking in Nairobi, Openda said Telkom's loss to Ghana Revenue Authority in Accra last year was good for the sport as the Kenyan side had dominated the competition in the last decade, winning nine out of ten titles.
But he believes the loss has awakened the giants in them and the players will go all-out to stake claim to their title and restore the pecking order as it is supposed to be.
"Telkom is hungrier than before to win the Africa Club title. Maybe the players took the rivals for granted and we paid dearly for the loss. Now we have the chance to reclaim the title and bring competition back to the continent events," said the coach Tuesday in Nairobi.
Ghana and Nigeria clubs will remain the real danger to the Kenyan charge at the continental championships.
However, the coach wants his players to focus on training hard and later enjoy their time at the continental fiesta.
Kenya is parading four clubs in the Africa competition, which has attracted over 16 teams.
Alongside Telkom, there will also be United States International University-Africa (USIU) Spartans in the women's competition, while the men's teams will be the Kenya Police and Butali Sugar Warriors. The men's team skipped last year's competition citing financial constraints.
Spartans team coach Willis Okeyo says while the focus will be on Telkom, he intends to creep up the ladder and stake claim to the title even as they make their debut at the African Cup of Clubs Championship.
"There are a lot of expectations. Our aim is to expose the players and at the same time try to give a good account of ourselves," said Okeyo.
With over 16 teams getting ready or the women's contest, the Africa club hockey competition will be one of the top sports events in the continent in 2018.
Alongside the Kenyan teams, there will be Ghana Revenue Authority, Trustees from Ghana, former champions Eastern Company Hockey Club and El Sharkia from Egypt, along with Niger Flickers and Police Machine from Nigeria.