Telkom Kenya face date with destiny


Telkom players celebrate scoring against Sliders during their Ladies Kenya Hockey Union League at City ...
(FILE)Telkom players celebrate scoring against Sliders during their Ladies Kenya Hockey Union League at City Park Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on November 12, 2017. Telkom won 3-0. Photo/Sportpicha.

In Summary

  • Telkom have been a dominant force on the continent and will be seeking a 10th Africa Cup for Club Championship title
  • Telkom boast a better head to head record against GRA, winning all five of their previous finals
 

A sporting festival to behold awaits on Saturday as the Theodosiah Okoh Hockey Stadium hosts the Africa Cup for Club Championship final pitting bitter rivals Telkom of Kenya and hosts Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The Ghanaian capital Accra will no doubt rally behind its own daughters as they seek to avenge their 2-0 defeat to the Kenyans when they enjoyed the luxury of home support in Nairobi last year.

That final will precede the closing ceremony of a week-long continental showpiece that brought together a total of 12 clubs (both men and women) from four African countries.

Telkom, who won a record 20th national title, have been an equally dominant force on the international and will be seeking a 10th Africa Cup for Club Championship title in Accra.

Road to the final

Telkom and GRA made it to the finals after finishing first and second respectively in the six-team log that was being played in round-robin format thus pitying the two in the Saturday’s showdown.

Both teams have enjoyed a good run in the tournament with the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) champions remaining unbeaten in the five group matches managing four wins and a draw.

The nine-time champions kicked off the tournament in a high thrashing Yobe Desert Queens of Nigeria 5-0 in their first match before edging out compatriots Strathmore University by a solitary goal in their second match.

The third match saw the Jos-Openda led side brush aside Nigeria’s KADA Queens 3-0 and thereafter inflict a 1-0 defeat over GRA in their penultimate match of the group.

The Kenyans were however held in their last match to a 1-1 draw by another home side Ghana Police but they had already qualified for the finals by topping the group with 13 points, three points ahead of second placed GRA.

GRA won three matches, registered one draw and lost in their last match of the group to finish with nine points joint with compatriots Ghana Police but eclipsed the law enforcers owing to their superior goal difference.

Eternal foes

The finals will once again pit the teams that have become familiar foes having met five times in as many years with Telkom dominating the proceedings in each of those occasions.

Their rivalry stems back to 2012 when the two hockey powerhouses met in the finals held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Telkom prevailed but had to go through the long route of post-match penalty flicks and the script has been the same ever since.

It has been a case of GRA lacking the answers to end Telkom’s head to head dominance and have already been outwitted this year during the round robin phase as Telkom ran out 1-0 winners.

Speaking after steering his team to the final, Telkom coach Jos Openda underlined that team work is key for his charges if they are to retain the title.

“We are happy to be in the finals once again, we are ready and I am assuring you that we are going to play as a team if we are to get it right in the finals,” Openda said.

Another Kenyan representative in the tournament Strathmore University Scorpions finished fifth in the tournament after edging out Yobe Desert Queens of Nigeria 3-1 in a match that in the fight for position five and six.

That was the first win for the Students who struggled in the annual competition.

In the men’s final, it will be an Egyptian derby as defending champions Eastern Company Club takes on giants El Sharkia who topped the men standings with 11 points, a point ahead their compatriots.

Finals Schedule

Women

Telkom vs GRA women (4:00pm)

Men

El Sharkia vs Eastern Company Club (6.30pm)

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