Telkom out to hurt their Ghanaian hosts
History will count for nothing when defending champions meet hosts today.
Continental hockey giants Telkom Kenya face off with Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) today in women’s Africa Cup of Club Championships (ACCC).
Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana, will be a combat zone as the two arch-rivals lock horns in hunt of continental glory.
Reigning Africa champions Telkom will be out to extend their dominance over the Ghanaians whom they have conquered in the past five editions of the annual tournament.
Today’s clash will rekindle the love-hate relationship between the East and West African countries. Going by the past intensity in their previous meetings, today's match promises fireworks.
Despite playing on a foreign turf, Telkom go into the match as favourites having ruled the continent for the past five years. However, Telkom coach Jos Openda said they will have to be at their best and go full throttle because their rich history will count for nothing and only the outcome of the match will matter.
“We must remain focused because until we successfully defend our title and get the job done, we are still every team’s target,” said Openda.
“We have beaten GRA before but this is a whole new ballgame because it’s not just the teams that are battling us, but the entire country is behind them. This has given them confidence and that's why we must be at our best” Openda said.
He added that GRA is a tough side that must be taken seriously and playing them after three matches should be seen as an advantage.
“We used the first three matches to gauge ourselves and also point out some aspects of the game that need to be strengthened.
"It has also given us an opportunity to watch our opponents in action. We now have an idea of what to expect. It would have been different had we not had the chance to watch them.”
Openda is likely to maintain his first 11 that has veterans Jackline Mwangi in attack and Terry Juma in defence. Audrey Omaido and Maureen Okumu will join Mwangi while captain Tracy Karanja, Lilian Aura, Barbara Simiyu and Caroline Guchu will control the midfield.
Rachel Ousa, Flavia Mutiva and Lucy Wangeci are also likely to be Openda’s first choice in defence.
Having lost to Telkom since the 2012 final in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the Ghanaian girls also known as the Custom ladies, will be hoping to break the jinx that has seen them suffer one defeat after another at the hands of the experienced Kenyans.
They will bank on home advantage in their quest to end Telkom's reign at the helm of Africa women’s club hockey.
In 2012, Telkom beat GRA 4-2 in post-match penalties to lift the continental gong, which they have not relinquished since.