KEEN TO CONQUER: Orange ready to rule the hockey world
HOCKEY By Elizabeth Mburugu | January 3rd 2017 | 2 min read
Indisputable Africa queens Telkom Orange are gearing up for battle as they seek to extend their reign at the helm of women’s continental club hockey.
City Park Stadium will be a battlefield as the Kenyan girls lock horns with their opponents in the Africa Cup of Club Championships (ACCC) that begin this Saturday.
With eight continental titles to their name, Orange are not yet done and will be going for a ninth overall and an unprecedented fifth title in a row. Head coach Jos Openda told Feverpitch that his charges were working hard towards making their dream ninth gong a reality.
“We have been working very hard to make sure that we are in good form and I believe that with the amount of effort my players have put in we are ready to defend our honour,” Openda said. He added that his girls are ready and rearing to go so they can maintain the legacy of the club.
Orange whose dominance in African hockey has held Kenya afloat even after national teams sunk being overshadowed by South Africa, Egypt and now Ghana will lead Sliders in the quest for the women’s title. Orange first won the women’s ACCC trophy in 1995 in Accra, Ghana and have gone ahead to win seven more, four of which have been won in a four year reign since 2012.
The home girls will also be out for a third historic conquest at home having won the 2006 edition held in January 2007 and the 2009 both played at City Park. “This year’s trophy is very important to us because we don’t want to be dethroned at home. We have won twice here and we are determined to win again and maintain the status quo,” Openda said.
In 2009, Orange won 2-1 in an all-Kenyan final against Sliders who will be making a comeback to the African scene. All eyes will be on the Kenyan girls as the fans anticipate a repeat of the 2009 show.
They however, face an uphill task in the hands of bitter rivals Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) popularly known as Customs Ladies who finished third last year. Ghana Police who they played in last year’s final in Lusaka, Zambia have not confirmed their participation. Orange beat the Ghanaian law enforcers 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out to win retain the title.
Stiff competition will also come from former Africa champions Heartlands of Nigeria as well as Sharkia ladies of Egypt who arrived in the country early enough to acclimatize.
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