Financial crunch hits Kenyan hockey teams

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-07 07:47:25|Editor: Xiang Bo
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NAIROBI, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- Lack of funds and loss of form has forced three Kenyan hockey clubs to opt out of Africa Cup for Club Championships, which will be held from December 1-10 in Ismailia, Egypt.

African Hockey Federation said only defending champions Blazers, formerly Telkom Kenya, will be taking part in the competition.

Blazers are the Kenyan champions and will require about 4 million shillings (40,000 U.S dollars) to make the trip to Egypt.

"The team is well prepared and the players have set their eyes on defending the title. They are ready for the tournament and we are only polishing up. However, we are yet to get the full funding and we are hopeful to get it before the team departs," said Blazers head coach Jos Openda on Wednesday.

It means Butali, Kenya Police and Strathmore University will not be making the trip to Egypt. However, Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Chairman Nahashon Randiek is buoyant, even with a depleted force at the continental championships.

"Unfortunately, the economic crunch we are witnessing in the country and lack of government support will not allow the three clubs to compete on the Africa scene. There is nothing we are going to do as a federation to bail them out," said Randiek.

Kenya Police last competed at the continental event in 2014 when the Africa Club Championships were held in Uganda while Strathmore was in Abuja Nigeria last year. However, Butali are yet to make its debut on the continental show.

South Africa has been the dominant force in recent years, but the likes of Ghana, Egypt and Kenya are mounting a serious challenge to their supremacy.

With a history dating back to 1974 and a format dependent on the number of entries, winning teams are guaranteed a place at the next Hockey World Club Cup.