Kenya teams out of AFCON tourney, South Africa qualify

By elvince joshua
Nov 21, 2013
  • Kenyan players at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

The two Kenya hockey teams are out of contention for the Africa Nations Cup and World tournament ticket after their second losses in the ongoing tournament at Nairobi's City Park stadium.

Kenya women's were the first to crash out of the tournament after going down 3-2 to Ghana in their last preliminary match while their male counterparts were blanked 5-1 by favorites South Africa.

South Africa men top the  standings and are certain of booking their World cup ticket for the finals which will be played in Netherlands next year. Egypt who meet the women's defending champions South Africa in the final on friday need to win to seal their World cup slot.

Looking to secure Kenya’s 2-0 lead the women’s coach Fidhelis Kimanzi made a flurry of substitutions which however worked against his team allowing their West African opponents to score three quick goals in the second half.

The hosts also lost to South Africa 3-1 in the same fashion in their opening game. Kimanzi pulled out Lillian Aura and Glennis Namasake and Ghanaian capitalized on a weaker midfield to score three goals in a span of three minutes.

"I am so disappointed with the result, this is a game we could have won," said Kimanzi after the match lauding his players for the spirited comeback.

"Our players are young and lack exposure. Am pleased with how they played today."

Kenya went ahead in the 13th minute after Pauline Naise's effort was deflected in the net to give the host a 1-0 advantage at the breather.

The home fans thought that the game was done and dusted when Audrey Amooh extended the lead just two minutes into the second period.

But the tete-a-tete by their coach Osei Boakye at the break paid off for the Ghanaians who soon pulled a goal back through Lydia Nkansah in the 49th minute following a blunder from Kenya's right back.

A minute later, Elizabeth Opoku scored two goals inside two minutes which gifted Ghana a final berth against South Africa on Saturday.

Kenya will play Tanzania on Friday in the third and fourth play offs.

"We made up our mind to win this games,” said 19 years old Opoku who plays for Custom Ladies back in Ghana. "The coach advised us to calm down and play a slow game and we had to win,” added the scorer of Ghana's two goals on Thursday as she looks forward to avenging the loss to Telkom Orange when they meet in December in the Africa Club Championship.

"We lost to Orange but we want to take back that trophy, they should get ready to hand it over to us," added Opoku who scored her 10th goal for Ghana and ninth for the tournament.

"We realized that Kenya were using long balls and ran after it, we changed tact, cutting their passes and that's what helped us,”said coach Osei.

South Africa looks set to defend title

South Africa scored four out of four penalty corners to send the Kenya men's team packing.

The South African side will next meet Egypt in the finals on Saturday. South Africa beat Egypt 6-1 on Tuesday. The Southern Africa team got their penalty corner goals through captain Austine Smith while the fifth came from Abbott Geoff in the 56th minute.

Smith opened  South Africa's account in the 13th minute through a drag which beat Kenya's defense flat foot. The second, third and fourth goals for Smith came in the 31st, 44th, and 50th minute again from resulting penalty corners.

Kenya pulled one back through Davis Wanangwe in the 63rd minute a little too late. "The difference between them and us is that they converted all their Penalty corners while we lost all our chances," said Kenya's coach, Meshack Senge.

"We need to have bigger financial muscle in the league and more build up matches for us to compete with the best teams in Africa,"

Tanzania concede 55 goals so far

Tanzania women's team have now conceded 55 goals in the tournament with a match to spare. Tanzania, will next play Kenya who beat them 13-1 on Tuesday.

Their loss to Kenya was nothing close to a whopping 18-0 defeat at the hands of Ghana last Monday and the neighbors woes continued when they conceded 25-0 against South Africa  on Thursday. Tanzania who are playing their first world Cup qualifier will next meet Kenya in the third and fourth play-off.

Ghana (men's) will play Kenya in the men's third and fourth place play off after succumbing to a 4-2 defeat to Egypt.