Western Kenya side ready to end 10-year wait for East Africa hockey title
Lynette Matheka in Arusha
Kenya Secondary School girls’ hockey defending champions St Cecilia Misikhu cruised to the semi-final of the East Africa games in Arusha, Tanzania after a fourth straight win in the group phase yesterday.
A brace from Rachael Khamala in the 13th and 14th minutes of the first quarter gave the Kenyan girls an upper hand in the match against Tanzania’s Lindi. Eight minutes into the second quarter, Yvette Sonai added Misikhu’s third.
The Tanzanian girls’ search for a consolation bore no fruits but they also denied their opponents a chance to score more as the match ended 3-0.
“We last won this title in 2009 and after 10 years, it is time to bag our second trophy in East Africa. We are ready for the competition going forward and the girls are hungry, “ said coach Robert Kanga.
The Kenyan champions, who are making a comeback in the regional games after missing last year’s showpiece won by Kenya’s Trans Nzoia Mixed, proceed to the semis with four clean sheets in as many matches.
They beat local rivals Nyamira 3-0, won 2-0 against Uganda’s Bweranyange, thumped another Ugandan side Old Kampala 4-0 before the Lindi win.
Misikhu lost in the 2017 East Africa finals to Sinyolo despite going to the competition as the nationals champions.
Nyamira, who made it to the regional games as the third best team from Kenya, are in a must-win encounter against Bweranyange today as maximum points will guarantee them a ticket to the semis.
Eliakim Obondo’s side bounced from their 3-0 loss to Misikhu to pick 5-0 and 2-0 wins against Lindi and Old Kampala respectively for six points. Bweranyange have three points and the Kenyan side is keen to avert a goal difference decider.
Nyamira last won the national title in 1990 and had a 28-year wait before making a return to the national level in 2018 where they finished fourth.
In the boys’ category, East Africa and national holders St Anthony’s Kitale are through to the semis after a 4-0 win over Namilyango College.
Goals from Noel Cheboi, Logan Mabuka, Glen Lusweti and skipper Oscar Kibet sealed St Anthony’s slot ahead of today’s match against Uganda’s Ntare.