Kenya men’s national Roll Ball team reached the semi-final of the World Cup after a narrow 6-5 win over Latvia in their quarterfinal match played at the Mirpur Indoor Stadium in Dhaka Bangladesh on Tuesday.
They will face top-ranked and favourites India in the last four on Wednesday morning after the defending champions overran Zambia 40-0 in their quarterfinal clash.
This will be the second time in successive World Cups that Kenya and India will meet at this stage following their 2015 clash in Pune, India where the hosts won 9-4. Kenya goes into the semifinal on the backdrop of five wins from the start of the competition.
To reach the final four, the Kenyans have had to ward off stiff challenge in the knockout stages with a 5-4 win over Argentina followed by another closely contested win over Latvia in the quarters.
India have scored an impressive 58 goals in their last two matches and Kenya’s coach Jared Onyango believes defence will be key to their success.
“They (India) are very good on fast breaks and our strategy will be to contain them by a solid defence and hopefully we can convert our chances. We have had two difficult games but we thank God for the wins and enabling us to reach this point,” Onyango said.
Hosts Bangladesh reach semis
In other matches hosts Bangladesh reached the semifinals after a 6-3 victory over Nepal. It was the first time that they have reached this level since the inaugural event in 2011. They finished seventh in the 2015 edition.
Bangladesh will take on 2015 finalists Iran, a team that eased past Pakistan courtesy of a 6-2 win.
Defending women’s champions Kenya beat fierce rivals and neighbours Uganda 5-0 to reach the last four where they will face an Iran side that progressed after a 5-2 victory over Argentina.
Kenya got a bye into the quarterfinals after Rwanda and Zambia were disqualified from the competition. Kenya also knocked out Uganda at the semifinal stage two years ago in India.
The other semifinal pairing pits 2015 losing finalists India and Senegal. In the last eight, India convincingly beat Latvia 11-1 while Senegal edged out England 4-2.
The third and fourth place play-off and finals are all set for Wednesday as the curtains come down on the week long tournament.
Quarterfinal, Men: Kenya 6 Latvia 5, India 40 Zambia 0, Bangladesh 6 Nepal 3, Pakistan 2 Iran 6.
Fixtures (Wednesday) - All Kenyan time
Semifinals: Kenya v India (8.30 a.m.); Bangladesh v Iran (9.45 a.m.)
Quarterfinal, Women: Kenya 5 Uganda 0, Argentina 2 Iran 5, Senegal 4 England 2, Latvia 1 India 11.
Semifinals: Kenya v Iran (6 a.m.), Senegal v India (7.15 a.m.).