Momanyi tips hockey youth team to star in Japan Olympics


A hockey stick and ball. (PHOTO/Courtesy)
A hockey stick and ball. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

In Summary

  • Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) is focusing on grooming the youth team that participated in the this year’s Youth Olympics held in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the the 2020 Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Although the under-18 boys’ team finished third in the African Championships cum Olympics qualifiers held in Algeria in July, they eventually qualified after South Africa pulled out of the 5-aside game

Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) is focusing on grooming the youth team that participated in the this year’s Youth Olympics held in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the the 2020 Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan.

Although the under-18 boys’ team finished third in the African Championships cum Olympics qualifiers held in Algeria in July, they eventually qualified after South Africa pulled out of the 5-aside game.

KHU Secretary General Wycliffe Momanyi has said the future of the game lies in the youth, adding proper investment in the team in the remaining time before the qualifiers for the senior team gearing to global competition could be the turning point of the sport in Kenya.

“We hope to take our national team to the 2020 Summer Games, that is if we qualify from Africa Championships. We are aiming to build our team on the youths that represented us in Argentina. If we managed to qualify for the Youth Olympics then it means that with a little bit of effort and progress we will make it with the young lads,” said Momanyi.

A total of 12 nations will participate in the Games, six male teams and an equal number of women teams with the Africa continent slated a slot for each gender.

South Africa has dominated in both male and female categories in Africa for the past decade-winning in the past eight consecutive editions for the men and seven consecutive editions for the women-an indication that it will be an uphill task to dethrone them.

Both national teams finished fourth in the 2017 African Championships held in Ismailia, Egypt a result that subsequently locked them out of the 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup held in England in July and the Men’s World Cup to be held in India from November 28 to December 16.

Momanyi has however called for patience in order to make Kenya a formidable force in the global scene although he bemoaned the lack of sponsors in the game as well as limited facilities as the main hindrance that has negatively affected the national teams’ performance in international stage.

“We still have some challenges like right now we only rely on City Park for our matches as well as training. Also, the fact that sponsors have not come on board to support hockey is a factor that has greatly affected our growth,” added Momanyi.

Meanwhile, the Union in conjunction with Kenya Academy of Sports on Wednesday launched the U-15 boys and girls hockey Holiday Camp at the City Park expected to run for 10 days, with participating kids harnessing essential hockey skills from a number of local qualified coaches.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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