As we hit day three of the 2017 Africa Hockey Cup in Ismailia, all teams have the chance to recuperate and most likely review their performance in the first two days of the tourney.
It has been a roller coaster for the Kenyan teams, whose registered a double loss each for the first two days. Sole goals from Mutira and Guchu are the only consolation for the teams, thus far. The women’s side lost 5-0 to a well-paced South Africa in their first match, with another 2-1 loss to follow on day two to Ghana despite an early score in their favor. The men’s side has not been spared either, as they fell 3-0 to Ghana on the first day and 4-1 to Egypt for the second encounter.
The results as of now depict dwindling hopes of Kenya collecting any trophy at this event. Which begs the question, why are we facing these woes? Why are the Kenyan sides emerging as the clear underdogs?
Multiple theories are being fielded regarding the state of our nation. The men’s side has been reported as having recently enlisted fresh blood, with the absence of veterans Nyongesa, Aura, and Odhiambo being strongly felt. However, the team still has some old players and the new signings have shown remarkable flashes of brilliance in the course of the matches. The women’s side has also maintained its lineup, with the additions of recently returned Naise and late recruitment Terry Juma having been expected to make a strong impact. It appears, therefore, that the problem may not be with the choice players or lineup.
Which leaves us to wail a management problem. The arrangements surrounding the movements of the Kenyan team to Ismailia may have contributed to these early dismal performances, with the teams arriving barely hours before their matches. In comparison, Ghana’s Black Sticks have been in Egypt since Monday the 16th, allowing them sufficient exposure to Egyptian teams and style of play as well as acclimatization. It is possible the delay to Kenya’s travel plans was a compromise between financing the personal expenditure of the players and the costs of the total length of stay.
We are hoping for a more remarkable display from the Kenyan side after today’s rest. Indications from the second matches were that with time, the teams will do better. We stand behind our teams, despite their dismal performance so far.
All we can do is pray that things look up. This far, is the state of our hockey nation.