Kenya’s hockey glory will still remain as history after the national women’s and men’s team bowed out of the Paris Olympic qualifiers in South Africa on Friday.
Hockey, a game once adored by many, still struggles to find its footing amidst a myriad of challenges.
While the women’s team have never qualified for the Olympics Games, the last time Kenya played at the global games was in 1988 when the national men’s team finished last in Seoul, South Korea. That long run will continue.
Despite a promising start at the ongoing African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 qualifiers in Pretoria, Kenya was given a reality check on why the nation’s hockey standards are still low.
Kenya’s attempt to continue their dream of getting to France was stopped after they lost 1-0 to Nigeria in the semifinals of the qualifiers at the University of Pretoria.
Johnson Benedicta scored a third minute penalty corner, a deflected shot that saw Nigeria put one foot on the plane to Paris next year.
Even though Kenya dominated the match thereafter with 11 penalty corners and numerous field play goal scoring opportunities, the girls could not break down the Nigerian defence.
Speaking after the defeat, Kenya’s captain Lynne Kipsang said they will come out of South Africa with lessons while congratulating Nigeria for the win.
“Congratulations to Nigeria. They really fought for it. It’s a tough pill to swallow but we live to fight another day.
“We started the match slowly and despite dictating the play, we were unlucky not to score. Tough luck,” said Kipsang who plays for Strathmore University Scorpions.
Kenya will now play in the third place playoffs on Saturday.