Telkom slip, lose power: After five years of pure dominance, Telkom let go of top position

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Monday, January 29th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Hockey
Telkom Jacky Mwangi(l) and sleeps as Vickings Carol Okoth(r) blocks When Vickings played Telkom at City Park Nairobi. ON 16/09/2017 (Jenipher Wachie)

The Ghanaians have perfected their act as they take charge.

That Kenya's hockey standards are dwindling is not in doubt.

This reality check comes after nine-time Africa Cup Club Championships (ACCC) winners Telkom relinquished their continental crown to Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the just-concluded 29th edition of the games.

After years of playing second fiddle to Kenyans, GRA finally delivered Ghana’s maiden women’s trophy. And they did it in style in front of home fans.

Since 2012, Telkom has been calling the shots on the continent. Every year in succession, they made sure the name Kenya featured prominently in hockey circles. To some extent, they made a positive reading after the national team faltered at the hands of South Africa, Egypt and, recently, Ghana.

However, the West Africans hit Kenya where it hurts most when they snatched the women's club continental title.

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But Telkom head coach Jos Openda took the beating positively.

"We need to up our game ahead of the next championships," said Openda.

Strathmore University Scorpions, Kenya’s second representatives at the event, were outdone by their opponents as they finished second last in the six-team competition. They lost to both Ghanaian sides GRA (4-0) and Ghana Police (4-1) as well as Nigeria’s Kada Queens (4-1) and Telkom (1-0) in the round-robin matches.

The Scorpions defeated debutantes Yobe Desert Queens of Nigeria 3-2 in the round-robin stage and 3-1 in the fifth place playoffs.

Telkom on the other hand won their five round-robin matches but failed to maintain the tempo, losing 1-0 to GRA in the final. The Kenyan league champions had defeated their Ghanaian equals by the same margin in their round-robin contest.

Nonetheless, it was clear to see that GRA were way ahead as they outclassed Telkom in all departments. The Ghanaians took full charge of the game and forced Telkom to play catch-up.

High pressure and spot-on passes were what the Ghanaians used to beat Telkom’s, who might have conceded more goals if not for the steady eyes of goalkeeper Cynthia Onyango, who won the Best Goalkeeper award.

The first signs of trouble were during last October’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. Kenya’s form plummeted and for the first time in many years, the women’s national team, which had players from Telkom and Strathmore, finished fourth behind South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria.