NAIROBI, October 29 – Kenya’s representatives at the Africa Club Cup Championships; Telkom Kenya and Blue Eaglets arrived back in the country on Tuesday morning from Abuja where they finished second and seventh respectively.,
Telkom Kenya lost to Heartland of Nigeria 5-2 in a pulsating final while Eaglets ended the tourney without a single win.
Speaking upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Telkom’s coach Joseph Openda said the team was determined to win the tournament but was affected by a list of injuries especially in the final.
“I am impressed with the way the ladies played. The unfortunate thing is that I had six injured players which was a handicap for the match and we played under intense heat which affected us greatly,” he explained.
Openda said that they will focus on training for future international tournaments since the side has a high quality squad and ensure that the players gain more experience and exposure.
Team captain and custodian Josephine Ataro said the team showed good performance despite playing under intense heat but urged the technical bench and Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) to make adequate preparations as they focus to future continental tournaments.
“Heartland is a very experienced side but we managed to beat them in the round robin category and since we were playing the final at the wrong time with most of our players injured, we have to accept defeat because in a game there is always a winner and a loser,” a disappointed Ataro said.
Blue Eaglets team manager Amai Olubai attributed his team’s poor performance to inadequate preparations and bad weather ahead of the continental event.
“We had a very short period to train for the event unlike our opponents who had trained for a whole year and the bad climatic conditions that did not favour our players,” he explained.
The team manager added that they travelled with inexperienced side since they could not make it with three of their junior players who have been banned from taking in any hockey event.
“We lacked the experience against our superior challengers and Apoma Achieng, Monica Muchiri and Mercy Njoroge are still facing suspension following their transgression in Egypt,”Olubai said.
The team which was participating in the tournament for the first time also had three of their players with personal issues while Donna Igumba, Nomalisa Omondi and Wangechi Gichuri were graduating at the United States International University (USIU.