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YES! WE HAVE MADE IT: Champs Telkom Orange hit Uganda, make Africa Club semis

HOCKEY By Elizabeth Mburugu | January 11th 2017 | 3 min read
Orange Telkom congratulates each other after scoring against Nigeria Kada Queens when they played Africa Cup Championship at City Park yesterda, on 07/01/2017 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

Champions Telkom Orange have booked their semifinals slot at the ongoing Africa Cup for Club Championships.

The reigning queens were in a class of their own as they trounced Uganda’s Weatherhead 9-0 in a women’s match yesterday, at City Park.

Kenya international Audrey Omaido was in imperious form as she scored six goals in the one-sided encounter. Betsy Ommala, Irene Ofula and Barbara Simiyu were also on target as the Kenyans won their third consecutive match. They now top pool A with nine points.

Telkom Orange coach Jos Openda was pleased his charges, saying they had achieved their first objective of qualifying for the knockouts.

“I was impressed with the forward line because they are finally getting it right as we enter the critical stages. Our first goal was to reach the knockouts and I'm glad they have done it,” Openda said.

He said he will rest most of his top players as they head into the last pool match. For him, continuity is important and he will give new players a chance to prove their worth.

Orange, who are chasing an unprecedented ninth crown, came into the match on the back of a 5-0 win over Egyptian side Sharkia on Monday evening. The Kenyan girls were on the offensive from the first minute, with the impressive Maureen Okumu, Lilian Aura and Audrey Omaido linking up well.

The trio combined to give Orange their first short corner and Omaido’s dragged ball was finished by Ommala in the fifth minute.

Okumu was a constant menace to the Ugandan defence and her marauding run in the 19th minute left her markers stranded as she set up Ofula, who slammed the ball home. Seven minutes later, Ofula turned provider as she unselfishly set up Omaido for the simplest of finishes.

Omaido added three more goals before the break to give her team a healthy 6-0 lead at the breather. Orange continued to press even harder after the break, while their opponents could not conjure up any meaningful chance.

Barabara Simiyu got her name on the score sheet in the 55th minute as she deflected Omaido’s cross past Weatherhead goalkeeper Beatrice Amono.

Weatherhead had a rare chance at goal three minutes later, but Racheal Atieno’s inviting cross lacked someone to finish it off. It was Weatherhead’s second defeat of the tourney.

POOR SHOW: Going gets tough for Ugandan clubs

Clubs representing Uganda at the ongoing Africa Cup for Club Championships are having a hard time. They have been overshadowed by their opponents from other countries and subjected to countless losses. Weatherhead’s only win was against their compatriots Wananchi, whom they defeated 4-3 in men’s pool A. As it stands, they have all been bundled out of title contention, even as their women’s sides, Wananchi and Weatherhead, seek to win their first matches. They however, still have a chance to put up a better show when they play their remaining group ties.

TRANSITION: Telkom Orange offers chance to new players

The future of young hockey players who have joined Africa women's hockey champions Telkom Orange looks bright, but solely depends on the availability of funds to run the club. Orange co-ordinator Jane Nyamogo told Feverpitch that they have recruited players as part of their transition plan, which will be beneficial to the club and country. "We have brought in talented players, who have what it takes to maintain the high standards of the club and also make the country proud," Nyamogo said. She added that she is proud with the performance of the junior players at the club championships.

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