Kenya begin hunt for Paris Olympic ticket against Zambia and Egypt

Team Kenya women hockey player Maureen Senge in action against New Zealand. [Kelly Ayodi]

The best men’s and women’s hockey teams from Africa will assemble in South Africa for the African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 tournament which starts on Sunday in Pretoria

With the winners joining France, Australia, Netherlands, India and China in securing direct qualification to the Olympic Games next year, Kenya will surely hope thelong forgotten golden mojo returns to aide them.

While the women’s team have never qualified for the Olympics games, the last time Kenya played at the global games was in 1988 when the national men’s team finished last in Seoul, South Korea

Eight men’s teams and seven women’s teams will compete at the African Hockey Road to Paris 2024.

The men’s and women’s teams that win the tournament will seal their berths to the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

The team that finishes as the runner-up in the men’s competition will get a second opportunity to qualify for the Olympics, at the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024.

In the women’s competition, Group A comprises Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, while Ghana, Kenya, Namibia and Zambia will compete in Group B. The women’s matches will get underway today with Ghana taking on Namibia in the opening contest at 9am EAT.

Kenyan women will face off against Zambia from 11am with all eyes on Eleanor Chebet, Grace Bwire, Alice Owiti, Aurelia Opondo and Maureen Okumu who will be leading Tausi’s attack.

After a humbling experience at the Commonwealth Games where Kenya were sent home with a sack full of goals, Maurine Owiti, Vivian Onyango, Lucy Wangeci, Diana Awino, Flavian Mutiva and Lyne Tamunai have been trusted to defend Cynthia Akinyi and Milicent Adhiambo in goal.

The last time the two sides faced off, Kenya thumped Zambia 3-0.

In the men’s competition, Group A comprises Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe, while Egypt, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia will compete in Group B. The men’s matches get underway with Egypt taking on Kenya in the opening encounter at 1pm.

Kenya have not had a good show at all against the Pharaohs after losing 5-1, 7-2, 4-1, 4-1, 2-1 and 3-2 in their last six meetings since 2013.

The South African men’s team have been the consecutive winners of the seven previous African Hockey Olympic Qualifiers and come into the tournament as the highest ranked team.

Egypt were the last men’s team outside of South Africa to qualify for the Olympics, back in 1992.

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