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Renewed rivalry: Telkom take on Ghana Revenue Authority in women’s final

HOCKEY By Elizabeth Mburugu | January 15th 2017
Orange Telkom Audrey Omaido(l) with the ball as Nigeria Kada Queens Edna Ememeruria blocks when they played Africa Cup Championship at City Park yesterda, on 07/01/2017 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

Mother of all battles is expected today when arch-rivals Telkom Orange and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) face off in the women’s final of the hockey Africa Cup for Club Championships (ACCC) at City Park Stadium. Today’s clash will rekindle the love-hate relationship between the two most revered women’s clubs on the continent.

A 4-2 win in a penalty shootout in Bulawayo set the reigning queens Orange to succesful four straight years at the helm of women’s hockey in Africa. GRA popularly known as Customs back home on the other hand have suffered one defeat after another in the hands of the Kenyan girls watched the prestigous trophy elude them.

Since 2012, GRA have lost to Orange three times in the semi-finals. In 2013 edition  in January 2014, they went down 1-2 in Kampala, later on in the same year it was no different as they lost by the same margin in Bulawayo.

A year later the Kenyan girls subjected them to a 2-0 defeat in Lusaka, Zambia before going ahead to beat their counterparts Ghana Police 3-2 in a penalty shootout to win a record eighth title and a fourth in a row.

Orange coach Jos Openda told Feverpitch that he expects the Ghanaian girls to make it difficult for them but they are not ready to relinquish their crown. “We expect stiff competition from our opponents but my girls are ready to fight tooth and nail to defend their honour. We are playing at home the more reason we have to win this trophy because we can’t allow our guests to subdue us on our home turf,” Openda said.

Openda will rely heavily on his forward line of veteran Jackline Mwangi, fast-rising Sinyolo Girls alumnus Maureen Okumu, Irene Ofula and Audrey Omaido. He will also need a strong midfield to maintain ball possession and feed the strikers as well and he is likely to start with international Lilian Aura, Barbara Simiyu and captain Tracy Karanja.

In defence, former skipper Betsy Ommala, veteran and penalty corner expert Terry Juma, Racheal Ousa, Flavia Mutiva and Lucy Wangeci will be tasked with restricting GRA attackers from their territory.

The home girls will be wary of a GRA’s pacey striker Elizabeth Opuku who has been a thorn in the flesh for opponents in this tournament.

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