Six debutants for Africa Cup of Nations

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Oct 10, 2017
  • Coach Meshack Senge admitted it was difficult to name the final squad of 18 players which has six debutants. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Kenya selectors have opted for a mix of youth and experience in 18 players in the national men’s hockey squad for the Africa Cup of Nations set for Ismailia, Egypt from October 22-29.

The squad includes six debutants including one from the National league.

Multimedia University’s forward Dunston Wabwire is the only player from second tier of the Kenya Hockey Union league who got the nod from the selectors for the continental event.

Wabwire was named alongside five other new faces namely Kennedy Munialo, Robert Masibo, Oliver Echenje, Vincent Odhiambo and Amos Barkibir.

The team coached by Meshack Senge finished second in the Hockey World League One held in Ghana in September last year.

However, Senge is under no illusions on the task at hand. "As much as we believe in this group we know the task ahead of us will not be that easy. We have to work hard. We have identified areas we need to improve on to challenge for a top finish in the championship."

He acknowledged: "It was a difficult process to pick the final squad, but I am very happy with the team we selected. We still have a lot of improvements and a lot of growth in us, but I am confident the 18 boys and men chosen for the Africa Cup are the best which augurs well for the future."

Butali Sugar Warriors midfielder Maxwell Fuchaka will lead the team for the first time replacing George Mutira. Mutira led the team at the World League One campaign after he replaced Richard Birir who had been dropped from the team.

Birir returns

Birir has however made a comeback and his experience at the back could come in handy.

Birir alongside the six debutants replace Brian Musasia, Samuel Bunyasi, Neville Mulupi, Victor Osiche, Calvins Kanu Chris Wokila and Maxwell Wakhungu.

Samuel Oungo who made his debut in Ghana last September cemented his place in the team and will partner Birir, Constant Wakhura, Munialo, Masibo and Fuchaka at the back.

Goalkeepers Linus Kipkemboi Sang and Allan Agesa retained their spots in the squad.

Okeyo will be expected to boost the side with the experience he has gained in Germany. Okeyo fondly known as ‘Awilo’ in hockey circles turns out for Club Bad Kreuznach Germany League.

“Having worked with this team for a while now, I feel that the energy within the team and their play is very impressive. We will be focusing on performing well as a team,” new captain Fuchaka said.

In the six-team tournament, Kenya will open their campaign against Ghana on October 22 before taking on Egypt the following day.

They will then take on Nigeria on October 25 and Zambia on October 26 before ending the preliminary round matches against South Africa two days later.


Goalkeepers: Linus Kipkemboi (USIU-A), Allan Agesa (Park Road); Defenders: Maxwell Fuchaka, Constant Wakhura (Butali Sugar Warriors), Samuel Oungo, Richard Birir, Robert Masibo (Kenya Police), Kennedy Munialo (Wazalendo); Midfielders: Willis Okeyo, Oliver Echenje (Kenya Police) Allan Iningu, Francis Eshikuri (Sikh Union, Nairobi), Francis Kariuki (Strathmore University), Vincent Odhiambo (Butali Sugar Warriors); Forwards: George Mutira (Chase Sailors), Festus Onyango (Strathmore University), Danstone Wabwire (Multimedia University), Amos Barkibir (Kenya Police).