Kenya’s poor preparations for the continental hockey Olympic qualifiers was evident as the national women’s team went down 12-0 to hosts South Africa at the Randburg Hockey Stadium in Johannesburg on Thursday. The loss may have marked the end of Kenya’s journey to next year’s Rio Games and the beginning of another long wait to garner points in their round-robin format of play to qualify.
The Kenya Hockey Union failed to adequately prepare and the union's league was not also adding value or helping players to up their game due to inconsistency. Kenya (37) had registered three consecutive wins against Namibia (not seeded), Zimbabwe (55) and Tanzania (46) all ranked below them in the world, but could not stand up against continental champions and world number 11 South Africa.
In the first half, Kenya had soaked in seven goals, all coming in by the half hour mark. The other five came in the second half. Candice Manuel, Bernadette Coston and Lilian du Plessis netted a hat-trick each, while Dirkie Chamberlain scored a brace with Celia Evans beating the Kenyan defence and goalkeeper Ruth Njoki once. Kenya are now third on the table standings with nine points behind South Africa and Ghana in first and second with 12 points. Kenya will today face arch-rivals Ghana who are yet to lose a match.
The Kenyan men had bounced back from their 1-4 loss to perennial rivals Egypt to secure a 7-0 win over Tanzania. The success earned them a semis slot where they will meet hosts South Africa tomorrow. Ghana booked a semifinals date with Egypt following their 4-2 win against Zimbabwe.
In other women’s matches, Namibia beat Zimbabwe 2-1 to earn their second victory of the competition. Marcia Venter scored a brace as she converted penalty corners in the fourth and 57th minutes for Namibia, while Michelle Williams scored the consolation goal for the 1980 Olympic champions.
Nigeria’s Justina Onyedum led her side to their first conquest of the competition as she scored four goals to help her side beat Tanzania 10-0. These goals were nothing compared to the 29 goals that Onyedum scored for her club Heartlands to win the top scorers award in last year’s Africa Cup of Club championships in Bulawayo.
Eleho Ovo scored a brace while Susan Bulus, Egw Bethel, Stella Nnanna and Alfa John scored one goal apiece to give the West Africans the victory.