It's been a learning curve for national hockey team

Team Kenya women hockey player Eleanor Chebet in action against her New Zealand counterpart during the on day one of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at the University Of Birmingham grounds on July 29, 2022. (Kelly Ayodi, Standard)

When they boarded the plane to Birmingham, many expected the national women’s hockey team to show the world Kenyan hockey playing style.

We did not expect them to beat defending champions New Zealand and the likes of Scotland and Australia, but we expected them to compete and show how we play hockey in our local leagues.

After three matches, it is clear all we can do is sing during pre-match, a few dribbles and flexible saves from our goalkeepers. We cannot even score one goal leave alone finish a complete pass from defence to midfield to attack.

Poor communication between defence and goalkeeper, short and over hit passes and failure to close the gaps are costing Kenya dearly.
Yesterday, the Blades as they are commonly referred to conceded their 35th goal of the ongoing 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Kenya lost their third match to Scotland after losing 11-0. The Kenyan girls struggled once again against a more fluid and experienced Scotland, conceding double digit goals for the second time having lost 16-0 to New Zealand in their first match of the campaign.

Hopes of an improved performance were blown away after they found themselves trailing 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Charlotte Watson, Sarah Jamieson and Fiona Burnet scored twice each while Jenifer Eadie, Louise Campbell, Amy Kostello, Katie Robertson and Bronwyn Shields added to the score sheet.

The Jackie Mwangi-led side begun the games on the wrong foot after a humbling 16-0 defeat to New Zealand last Friday before letting in eight goals against Australia on Saturday.

Kenya, who are in Group B alongside defending New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and South Africa, will play their last match today against the South Africans from 6pm local time.

Kenya are bottom of the group with no points after the three defeats as New Zealand, Australia and Scotland lead with six points each.
South Africa have also lost their two opening matches to Australia (5-0) and Scotland (4-2).

As they finish off their Commonwealth Games debut, the Blades will sure come back home with wealth of experience of playing alongside some of the world’s best players and teams.

All that is remaining now is the Kenya Hockey Union changing the way they do business in regard to preparations towards international championships.

Kenya has a wealth of talented hockey players who need the right guidance and motivation to compete with the likes of New Zealand.

The national team cannot prepare for top international games if they are not playing against top teams around the globe. The union needs not only to organise and mobilise for

international friendlies with top nations but also change their tack on the selection of national team players.
It is time for a fresh start. A fresh start needs new young players who are hungry to compete.

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