All the news for Thursday 21 December 2017
FIH announces officials for Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018
Poland's Marcin Grochal is one of several Rio 2016 umpires officiating at the World Cup Photo: FIH/WSP
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has today announced the appointments of officials for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.
25 officials representing 19 countries from all five continents will officiate at this prestigious event taking place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India between 28 November and 16 December.
As was the case with the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 appointments, both men and women will undertake officiating roles at this event, further enhancing FIH’s drive to enhance gender parity across all areas of the sport.
Germany’s Christian Deckenbrock, who took on the same role at this year’s men’s and women’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Johannesburg, South Africa, has been appointed as Technical Delegate.
Chair of the FIH Competitions Committee, Björn Isberg (SWE) will support Christian in his role alongside Alfred Chang (HKG) who is familiar with this venue having been Technical Delegate for the recent Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017. Both assume roles as Technical Officers alongside Muneer Mohammed (IND), Edna Rutten (NED), Reyah Richardson (TTO) and Kays Kanyangara (ZIM).
On the field of play, there’s plenty of experience. While seven of the umpires gained experience at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the other nine will be relishing the opportunity of performing on one of the greatest stages in international hockey.
Amongst those appointed are Golden Whistle (over 100 cap) umpires Francisco Vazquez (ESP); Martin Madden (SCO); Raghu Prasad (IND); Javed Shaikh (IND) and Simon Taylor (NZL).
They will be joined by Dan Barstow (ENG); Marcin Grochal (POL); Diego Barbas (ARG); Lim Hong Zhen (SGP); Jonas van ‘t Hek (NED); Adam Kearns (AUS); Peter Wright (RSA); David Tomlinson (NZL); Eric Kim Lai Koh (MAS); Gregory Uyttenhove (BEL) and Ben Göntgen (GER).
Making sure they are performing to the best of their abilities will be Umpire Managers Philip Schellekens (NED) and Minka Woolley (AUS) whilst another Golden Whistle owner, Deon Nel from South Africa, will be a Video Umpire Coach to umpires who take on this role during the event. His fellow countryman, Shuaib Manjra, has been appointed the competition’s Medical Officer.
Appointment Name Country
Tournament Director DECKENBROCK Christian Germany
Technical Official ISBERG Björn Sweden
Technical Official CHAN Alfred Hong Kong
Technical Official RUTTEN Edna Netherlands
Technical Official RICHARDSON Reyah Trinidad & Tobago
Technical Official KANYANGARARA Kays Zimbabwe
Technical Official MOHAMMED Muneer India
Medical Officer MANJRA Shuaib (Dr) South Africa
Umpires Manager SCHELLEKENS Philip Netherlands
Umpires Manager WOOLLEY Minka Australia
Umpire BARSTOW Dan England
Umpire VAZQUEZ Francisco Spain
Umpire GROCHAL Marcin Poland
Umpire MADDEN Martin Scotland
Umpire BARBAS Diego Argentina
Umpire LIM Hong Zhen Singapore
Umpire PRASAD Raghu India
Umpire VAN 'T HEK Jonas Netherlands
Umpire KEARNS Adam Australia
Umpire TAYLOR Simon New Zealand
Umpire WRIGHT Peter South Africa
Umpire TOMLINSON David New Zealand
Umpire SHAIKH Javed India
Umpire KOH Eric Kim Lai Malaysia
Umpire UYTTENHOVE Gregory Belgium
Umpire GOENTGEN Ben Germany
Video Umpire Coach NEL Deon South Africa
India's Prasad, Shaikh to officiate in 2018 Hockey World Cup
NEW DELHI: India's Raghu Prasad and Javed Shaikh were named in the panel of umpires for next year's Hockey World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Wednesday announced that 25 officials representing 19 countries from all five continents will officiate at this prestigious event at the Kalinga Stadium from November 28 to December 16.
As was the case with the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup London 2018 appointments, both men and women will undertake officiating roles at this event, further enhancing FIH's drive to enhance gender parity across all areas of the sport.
Germany's Christian Deckenbrock, who took on the same role at this year's men's and women's Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Johannesburg, South Africa, has been appointed as Technical Delegate.
Chair of the FIH Competitions Committee, Bjorn Isberg (SWE) will support Christian in his role alongside Alfred Chang (HKG) who is familiar with this venue having been Technical Delegate for the recent Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar. Both assume roles as Technical Officers alongside Edna Rutten (NED), Reyah Richardson (TTO) and Kays Kanyangara (ZIM).
On the field of play, while seven of the umpires gained experience at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the other nine will be relishing the opportunity of performing on one of the greatest stages in international hockey.
Besides Prasad and Shaikh, amongst those appointed are Golden Whistle (over 100 caps) umpires Spain's Francisco Vazquez, Martin Madden of Scotland and Simon Taylor of New Zealand.
They will be joined by England's Dan Barstow, Marcin Grochal of Poland, Diego Barbas of Argentina, Singapore's Lim Hong Zhen, Jonas van't Hek of Netherlands, Adam Kearns of Australia, Peter Wright of South Africa, David Tomlinson of New Zealand, Eric Kim Lai Koh of Malaysia, Gregory Uyttenhove of Belgium and Germany's Ben Gontgen.
Making sure they are performing to the best of their abilities will be umpire managers Philip Schellekens of Netherlands and Minka Woolley of Australia whilst another Golden Whistle owner, Deon Nel from South Africa, will be a video umpire coach to umpires who take on this role during the event.
His fellow countryman, Shuaib Manjra, has been appointed the competition's Medical Officer.
The Times of India
HA Congratulates Woolley & Kearns On World Cup Appointments
Hockey Australia today congratulates Adam Kearns and Minka Woolley upon their appointments as Umpire and Umpire Manager respectively at next year's Hockey Men's World Cup.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has today announced the appointments of officials for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.
Kearns is an experienced hockey umpire with a rich history in the sport which has seen him officiate at a number of events including the 2016 Rio Olympics, 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2014 Hockey World Cup.
Woolley has been involved in hockey for more than 45 years as a player, umpire and umpire manager and was awarded life membership to Hockey Tasmania in 2015. Minka's Umpire Manager experiences are highlighted by her performance at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2012 Olympics.
Twenty-five officials representing 19 countries from all five continents will officiate at this prestigious event taking place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India between 28 November and 16 December.
Hockey Australia media release
HA Congratulates Seymour On FIH Umpire Career
Hockey Australia congratulates umpire Kylie Seymour after she decided to retire from international umpiring and step down from the FIH World Panel earlier this month.
Seymour, who hails from Campbelltown in New South Wales and the Moorebank Liverpool Hockey Club, enjoyed a rapid rise to the top of world hockey officiating, umpiring at several major tournaments culminating in her career highlight at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
She has stepped down from the FIH World Panel of female umpires where was one of 17 members and one of two Australians on the panel. She will continue umpiring at both national and local level next year.
“My umpiring journey has given me so much and it hasn’t been an easy decision,” Seymour said.
“I have decided to step away and focus on other parts of my life. As a very good friend has said ‘life holds lots of adventures and you want to experience as many as you can’.”
Seymour emerged as a promising umpire at under-age Australian Championships in 2008 and 2009, before being appointed for international Four Nations tournaments in Germany and Argentina in 2011.
From there, she rose through the ranks quickly going from the 2013 Junior World Cup in Germany, to taking on umpiring roles at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2014 Champions Trophy.
She also umpired at the 2015 World League Semi-Final in Valencia, before going to Rio de Janeiro last year, as well as the 2016 Champions Trophy and 2017 World League Semi-Final in Belgium.
Hockey Australia media release
England confirm entry for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions England are among the six teams confirmed for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at the Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium in Ipoh from March 3-11.
Besides world No. 7 England, the others are world No. 1 and nine-time champions Australia, Argentina (No. 2), India (No. 6), Ireland (No. 10) and hosts Malaysia (No. 12).
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) technical director Terry Walsh said the involvement of five of the world’s top 10 teams would provide the best preparation for Malaysia ahead of the World Cup Finals in India in November.
“The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be a platform to test the national team’s ability – apart from being a challenge for them to finish in a better position,” said Walsh.
The Star of Malaysia
Nominations for Men's Goalkeeper of the Year
They are the men who are the last line of defence and their bravery and courage as a ball is being fired at them is only matched by their athleticism and flexibility as they dive to stop shots that would otherwise end up in the back of the net. Once unmasked, these giants of the game are also great personalities and inspirational figures both on and off the field of play. The nominees are listed in alphabetical order.
Quico Cortes was voted Goalkeeper of the Tournament in South Africa at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals. The Spanish ‘keeper was instrumental in his side finishing in fourth position and securing a spot at both the Odisha Hockey World League Final and the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup. The fourth place finish was achieved at the expense of many higher ranked teams, including a 4-3 thriller against New Zealand and a 2-1 victory over Ireland – a match that showed Cortes at his athletic best as he pulled off numerous saves. The 34-year-old Spanish ‘keeper has also shown remarkable longevity – he has more than 250 caps for his country including a World Cup bronze from 2006 and an Olympic silver from 2008.
It is not a thought that Ireland’s David Harte would even countenance, but many hockey observers would lay much of the credit for Ireland’s success in recent years at the door of their charismatic ‘keeper. Qualification for both Rio 2016 and the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 [for the first time since 1990] was a case of a hockey nation punching high above its weight category. Harte is invariably the standout ‘keeper at qualification events and, as the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year in both 2015 and 2016, he is now up for an unprecedented third consecutive award. Harte plays his club hockey for SV Kampong and was part of the team that won the 2016 national title in the Netherlands for the first time in 32 years.
Captaining your side from the goalmouth is a notoriously difficult job but it is one that Great Britain and England’s George Pinner is relishing. The gregarious 30-year-old has been a constant in the Great Britain and England goal since 2013 (his international debut was in 2011) and in that time he has seen his team come tantalisingly close to podium places only to fall at the final hurdle. That has changed this year as England won bronze at the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Finals on home turf in London before repeating the feat at the Rabobank EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam. The bronze medal match was a bruising encounter with Germany that saw Pinner at his courageous best as he blocked several point blank shots.
Known as ‘The Wall’, and for very good reason, Belgium’s goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch has been the defensive rock upon which the Red Lions have been able to build their team for the past six years. This year, Belgium have been in the finals of the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg, which they won by a convincing 6-1 scoreline over Germany. They then played the final of the Rabobank EuroHockey Championships, losing out to the Netherlands in a 4-2 thriller. Vanasch was voted Goalkeeper of the Tournament for his performances in that campaign. Add this to a silver at the Rio 2016 Olympics and a meteoric rise up the world rankings and it is clear that the Belgium team, with Vanasch as its foundation, is a team that is at the top of its game. For the ‘keeper with lightning reflexes though, this is not enough – for him gold at Tokyo 2020 is the dream.
At 38, Argentina’s Juan Vivaldi is the oldest of our nominated athletes but age is the last thing on the ‘keeper’s mind. Argentina are enjoying a tremendous spell at the pinnacle of world hockey at the moment – as current Olympic champions and the world number two side – and Vivaldi is one of the unsung heroes in his team’s success. A strict fitness regime and an innate desire to keep winning medals ensures that Vivaldi remains one of the standout goalkeepers in an era where the standard of international 'keeping is sky-high. Vivaldi and his team added to their medal haul with a gold at the 2017 Pan American Cup and a silver medal at the the Odisha Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017, where they narrowly lost to Australia. They finished second in the Hero Men's Hockey World League Semi-Final in London, securing qualification for next year’s blue riband event, the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.
PAHF Year 2017 in review
As the year draws to a close, it is time to take a look back at some of the events and players that have made hockey shine in the Americas over the past 12 months.
It all began in the spring as the Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board got their year off to a fantastic start playing perfect host to the FIH Hockey World League Round Two event. It was not the final placing that the host nation hoped for – they finished fifth behind Japan, Canada, USA and Russia – but they proved they were more than capable of hosting a great event.
It was also at the HWL Round Two event that the watching hockey fans learnt what Trinidad and Tobago’s coaching staff already knew – in Akim Toussaint, they have a very special player. The midfielder is the only player to make it onto both the PAHF Elite Indoor and Outdoor Hockey squads this year, following his nation’s outstanding performances in both strands of the game. But more of that later.
The women’s Hockey World League Round Two contenders headed northwards for their PAHF-hosted event, to the rain swept city of Vancouver in Canada. Again, while the organizing committee put in a shining performance – including battling with water-logged pitches armed with brooms – it was disappointment on the pitch for the hosts. Canada had entered the event with high hopes of emulating their HWL 2015 performance only to finish fifth. Chile however, were on a roll and their second-place finish behind India meant they qualified for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Johannesburg. This was the first time the Diablos had made it to the Semi-Finals and it was thanks in no small part to the goal-scoring and leadership qualities of Camila Caram and the coolness under pressure of Denise Krimerman.
And so to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, where the prize on offer was not simply a place at the Hockey World League end-of-season Final but it also offered a chance to qualify for the 2018 men’s and women’s Hockey World Cups – taking place in Bhubaneswar, India and London, England respectively.
In London, at the first of the men’s Semi-Final events, PAHF was represented by Canada and Argentina, both of whom delivered in great fashion. Argentina went to the event as the world number one team and finished in second place after receiving a 6-1 masterclass in taking scoring opportunities from the high-flying Dutch. While a podium place was nothing less than Carlos Retegui and his men expected, Canada defied all expectations as they saw off Pakistan with a comprehensive 6-0 victory; defeated China 7-3 and then beat India in a thrilling 3-2 battle which earned them fifth place and qualification for next year’s Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup.
Scorer of two goals, including the winner, in the 5/6th match against India was Gordon Johnston. Talking on the Field Hockey Canada website, the striker said: “Our guys worked so hard in that match, we got a lot of chances and we buried them. The last World Cup we were at was 2010,” he added. “Eight years I’ve been dreaming to get there, so it’s a dream come true!”
In the women’s Semi-Final events, PAHF had three representatives, all playing in Pool B. Argentina, as the world ranked number three side, were favorites to win the pool; USA went to the event ranked sixth and Chile were the outsiders, with a world ranking of 21.
In the event, Chile surpassed themselves, playing with a style and confidence that belied their status as lowest ranked team at the competition. They beat the hosts South Africa and lost by only one or two goal margins to higher ranked India, USA and Argentina. In their final classification match, Chile beat Poland and won ninth place and the hearts and minds of spectators.
“I think we showed that we are making steps and growing,” says Manuela Urroz, whose performances this year have earned her a place in the PAHF Elite Team of the Year. “At World League Three we faced tough rivals but we played our game. I must admit we were sad not to have qualified for the World Cup.”
As a team that has risen rapidly up the rankings this year, Chile’s female players might feel aggrieved at missing out on the World Cup qualification but as they showed later in the Pan American Cup, where they finished in silver medal position, they are a team that has punched well above their weight this year. Their reward has been a rise up the FIH World Ranking to a high of 15th.
For Argentina and USA, the Hockey World League Semi-Final was a chance to secure World Cup qualification early, to avoid the stress of needing to qualify via the continental qualifier. Argentina had the better of the pool matches as they cruised to four wins. They also made short work of Ireland in the quarter-finals and were all set for a semi-final encounter with Germany.
The USA lost twice in the Pool games – to South Africa and Argentina – but, despite below par performances, they picked up enough points to finish second in the pool. But everyone knows it is at the quarter-final stage when your team needs to hit a rich vein of form and this is exactly what Janneke Schopman and her team managed to do. A win over Japan set them up for a semi-final encounter with England. A nervy 1-1 draw saw the USA achieve what many have failed to do in recent years – beat England on shoot-out. In the other semi-final, Argentina were on the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline against Germany.
USA continued to play their style of fierce, uncompromising hockey. In Germany they found a side who would match them for work rate and again the USA side found themselves drawing 1-1 and going to shoot-out, this time against the other side renowned for its strength at shoot-out.
“We always back ourselves,” was teenage sensation Erin Matson’s verdict on the situation and sure enough, the 17-year-old was the one who kept her head and scored the winning goal after Franzisca Hauke had seen her shot saved by Jackie Briggs.
The results meant that both USA and Argentina – who eventually finished fourth – will be heading to the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup in London next July.
While the top ranked teams were battling for World Cup places and top 10 ranking spots, at the development end of the game, July was an exciting time. The Central American Hockey5s saw a new hockey nation emerge as Guatemala took both the men’s and women’s titles, beating Panama into second place in both events. All the participating teams have promised to take place in next year’s event, having agreed the event truly showed the power of sport to bring nations together.
And so to the Pan American Cups, where Argentina men and women were seeking to defend their 2013 titles. This they achieved in some style. The men won all their games, conceding just three goals in the process. The final, between Los Leones and Canada was a fast-paced and high-quality affair, but it was always going to be a tough ask for Canada to beat their world number one opponents.
In the women’s competition, there was a new name in the final. Chile took full advantage of the confidence they had gained from their Hockey World League endeavors and surprised everyone with their 4-3 victory over USA in the semi-finals. The final saw Argentina maintain their unbeaten record at this event, but Chile certainly have signaled their intent to be a hockey nation to be reckoned with.
Urroz agrees: “The Pan Am Cup was another story. I think the team started to believe in ourselves and we had a historic result. We will grow from this point.”
And so to the Indoor Pan American Cup, which was held for the first time in Georgetown, Guyana. The prize for the winning teams was qualification for the Indoor World Cup, to be held in Berlin in February 2018.
This was an event for firsts as both winning sides, USA women and Trinidad & Tobago men, are first-time winners at this tournament. USA beat Argentina 2-1, with goals from eventual Player of the Tournament Ali Campbell and Katie Gerzabek; then Trinidad & Tobago stunned everyone when they hammered Argentina 7-0.
“We weren’t sure where we were staying until three days before the tournament started because of financial restraints,” says Akim Toussaint as he reflects back on his team’s historic performance. “But that did not stop us going out and making history. We played every game with a real passion but everyone thought we had just caught Argentina by surprise when we beat them 5-2 in the first game.”
Trinidad & Tobago proved their opening victory was no fluke when they won their other three group matches. Toussaint takes up the commentary: “Then came mighty Canada. They needed to win by four goals to knock us out of the final. We had never won against Canada in any form of the game so we were a little nervous until we remembered that we had never beaten Argentina either before this tournament. That gave us so much confidence going into the match.”
Trinidad & Tobago did fall four goals down to Canada but somehow the Trinidad side managed to not only claw their way back into the game, but they emerged 7-5 victors.
The final, against Argentina, was an almost simple affair in comparison. A structured, composed and skillful performance saw Trinidad & Tobago win 7-0 and make history in the process.
Guyana is a nation that has been developing apace in recent times and all the hard work has paid off as the women’s national team finished as winners, just ahead of Jamaica, at the qualifying event for the Central American and Caribbean Games (2018), while the men’s team qualified in second place behind Jamaica. Both Jamaica and Guyana’s men’s and women’s teams will be contesting the 2018 CAC Games in Barranquilla, Colombia next year.
The final two events we will report on for our annual round-up are the men’s and women’s Hockey World League Finals, which took place in India and New Zealand respectively. Argentina men will be pleased to have reached the final but a 2-1 loss to Australia means Los Leones lose their number one world ranking as the Kookaburras retained the title and picked up maximum ranking points.
The women’s PAHF representatives at the event, Argentina and USA, will not view the Hockey World League Final in New Zealand with any great joy. USA finished second in their pool and then faced a quarter-final match against England. This they lost 2-1, and so found themselves in a 7/8th place match against China. They won that encounter but after the highs of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Johannesburg, Melissa Gonzalez and her team will have found this a tough pill to swallow.
Argentina looked imperious as they won all their pool games, beating China, England and Germany but when they faced New Zealand in the quarter-finals, they met a team that had transformed itself overnight. New Zealand had finished the pool matches in fourth place and had performed dreadfully in the process but against Argentina, the host nation took every ounce of energy the home supporters offered and turned the game around. Argentina took the lead but then seemed to take their collective foot off the gas. New Zealand scored twice and Argentina were left playing for fifth place – a position they achieved thanks to a 4-0 win over Germany.
Argentina’s captain Delfina Merino summed up her team’s year: “The past year has been a year of growing as a team. We started the year training with one coach but now we have a new coaching staff so we are very much in a period of transition. A lot of young players have joined the team, which is something we all have to get used to. We finished the Hockey World League in fifth place, but if you look closer at the results, we won four of our five games, which is okay. We will continue to grow as a team and as individuals within the team. The connections between players will get better and better. This year went as expected and that is okay. We are now concentrating on and looking forward to the World Cup.”
Merino is one of a number of players nominated for awards at the annual FIH Hockey Stars Awards. The Argentina captain and dynamic striker is one of five candidates up for Player of the Year (women). She is joined on the shortlist by USA captain Melissa Gonzalez, while USA goalkeeper Jackie Briggs is nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year.
In the male category, Argentina’s Gonzalo Peillat is nominated, while goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi is one of five nominees for Goalkeeper of the Year.
In a category dominated by three players from the Netherlands, Maria Granatto is looking to replicate last year’s success when she was crowned 2016 Rising Star.
Pan American Hockey Federation media release
Polo the Catalan champions for the 32nd time
Real Club de Polo won the Campionat de Catalunya with a 4-0 final win over Club Egara last Sunday at the Eduardo Dualde .
They went in front in the 21st minute when skipper David Alegre tipped in a crash ball. Polo pulled further clear in the third quarter when Manu Bordas was quickest to react to a penalty corner save. A direct penalty corner strike from Max Plennevaux made it 3-0 before Alex Casasayas notched the final goal.
It capped a great event for Polo, ending with this win after a semi-final success against FC Barcelona, landing the title for the 32nd time in the competition’s 97-year history.
Atlètic Terrassa finished in third place after beating FC Barcelona 7-1. The goals were scored by Santi Ibáñez, Jan Malgosa, Santi Morera, Pol Parrilla, Oriol Peremiquel, Roc Oliva and Lluís Melé.
Euro Hockey League media release
Fauji Fertilser Company continue impressive show
Newly raised Fauji Fertiliser Company continue to make waves at the 64th National Hockey Championships in Sukkur.
Asfandyar scored a brace in FFC's 5-3 win over Port Qasim Authority.
Promising Wasim Akram, Awais Rahman and Ilyas were their other goal getters.
For PQA, former Pakistan captain Shakeel Abbasi, Haaris and Bilal found the target.
Young Customs side defeated PTV 3-0
Waqas Ahmed, M.Shoaib and Asad Arshad shared the goals
Two matches involving the provincial sides were one sided.
Punjab defeated FATA 9-2
Punjab: Ahmer Ali (2), Jahangir Ali (2), Muzammil Hussain (2), Mohammad Ahsan, Faizan Haider
and Aaqil Saleem
KPK defeated Baluchistan 6-0
SCORERS: Adeel Zaman (2), Ziyad (2), Jawwad and Naveed Iqbal
PHF Media release
Telkom saves Kenya the blushes with club championship title
By BRIAN YONGA
Telkom Orange captain Tracy Karanja (centre) lifts the Africa Cup of Club Championship title at the City Park Stadium on January 16, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Kenyan hockey sunk to a new low in 2017 as the national teams performed dismally at the Africa Cup of Nations cum 2018 World Cup qualifiers held in Ismailia, Egypt.
The only bright spot to an otherwise dull year was Telkom women’s team winning a record ninth Africa Club Championship title, while Kenya Police and Butali Sugar Warriors claimed silver and bronze respectively in the men’s competition
Telkom Orange coach Jos Openda poses with the Africa Cup of Club Championship trophy and winners' medal at the City Park Stadium on January 15, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |NATION MEDIA GROUP
The continental club showpiece kicked off the hockey calendar in January as the competition returned to Kenya after almost nine years. Ten women’s teams, the highest entry in five years, and nine men’s teams took part in the week-long tournament at City Park Hockey Stadium, Nairobi.
Sliders, who were making their return in the annual tourney, were the fourth Kenyan side alongside Telkom, Butali and Police. As expected Telkom swept all before them to make the final against their nemesis Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Grant Monica (left) of Ghana Revenue Authority and Betsy Ommala of Telkom Orange vie for the ball during their final match of the Africa Cup of Club Championships at City Park Stadium on January 15, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |NATION MEDIA GROUP
Telkom Orange captain Tracy Karanja with the Africa Cup of Club Championship women's trophy at the City Park Stadium on January 15, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |NATION MEDIA GROUP
Buoyed by the home crowd, Telkom convincingly won 2-0 courtesy of goals from Jackline Mwangi and Audrey Omaido. It was their fifth title in a row and ninth in total.
Telkom scooped a double after veteran striker Jackline Mwangi won the golden sticks award alongside GRA’s Elizabeth Opoku, with both finishing on nine goals.
Kenya Police failed to make it a double for local clubs as they lost 3-2 on penalty shootouts to champions Eastern Company of Egypt.
Eastern Company's Ebrahim Soliman celebrates with Africa Cup of Club Championship men's trophy at the City Park Stadium on January 16, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |NATION MEDIA GROUP
Ibrahim Amr (left) Eastern Hockey shields the ball away from Richard Birir of Kenya Police during their final match of the Africa Cup of Club Championship at City Park Stadium on January 15, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |NATION MEDIA GROUP
Butali Sugar Warriors secured bronze after they beat Ghana Police 3-0 in the play-off match, while Sliders finished seventh on their return to continental championships.
It was also the first time that 23-time men’s winners Sharkia of Egypt, who finished in fifth place, did not reach the final since the tournament started in 1988.
The month of January ended on sad note for the local hockey fraternity as Butali Coach Cliffe Okello passed away on January 23 after a short illness.
He won five league titles as a player with Kisumu Simba and also featured for the national team in the 1999 Africa Games in South Africa and the 2007 Olympic qualifiers.
Butali Warriors coach Cliffe Okello reacts on the touchline during their match against Park Road. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO
Okello, 42, led Butali to back-to-back league titles in 2014 and 2015.
In February, Western Jaguars men’s hockey club survived relegation after winning a four-team play-off.
The 2017 league got underway in March with Kenya Police and Telkom dominating and look certain to be crowned champions when the league resumes next month following the Christmas and New Year breaks.
Internationally, Kenyan teams failed to shine on the continental stage leaving many to wonder what happened to the glory days of the early 70s right through the late 90s.
The men and women’s teams finished fourth in the continental tourney as South Africa retained both the men and women’s titles.
Kenya's forward Audrey Omaido drives forward during a training session at City Park Stadium on October 17, 2017 in preparation for the Africa Cup of Nation tournament to be held in Egypt. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |NATION MEDIA GROUP
The women’s team lost 2-1 to Nigeria on post-match penalties as their male counterparts went down 5-3 to Ghana in the bronze medal matches
The result marked a dismal show for the Kenyan sides, which were looking for their maiden continental titles, as well as 2018 World Cup berths.
Both teams secured bronze at the last edition of the continental showpiece held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015.
Nigeria, who are ranked 62nd, 20 places below Kenya, avenged their 1-0 loss to Kenya in the round-robin stage.
It was also the West African’s second bronze medal in the competition after their exploits in Accra, Ghana in 2009.
Many blamed the Kenya Hockey Union for shoddy preparations by both teams with the coaches also admitting that high profile friendlies would have helped gauge the teams’ strengths.
“We had to make do with what we had and that was playing local sides and also not been able to go to residential camp which other teams did for months,” men’s team coach Meshack Senge said.
Ironically, KHU chairman Nashon Randiek blamed the goalkeepers for the dismal performance when asked about it by the press.
The month of November saw the hockey fraternity mourn the death of USIU Spartans midfielder Martha Masinde in Bungoma.
Martha Masinde of USIU-A during a past match. Martha passed away on October 28, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |NATION MEDIA GROUP
The midfielder succumbed to respiratory complications at the Kory Family hospital. She fell sick late September after playing in her side’s win against Multimedia University.
The Moi Girls Kamusinga alumnus was studying Bachelor of Science in Accounting at the Thika Road-based institution.
December also saw the death of former Kenyan international forward Rodgers Ayuya.
Rodgers, formerly of Western Jaguars, Greensharks, Wazalendo and The University of Nairobi hockey clubs, died in a tragic road accident along the Bungoma-Mumias road.
Rodgers honed his skills at Musingu High School, where he led the team to the national title. He joined the University of Nairobi team after clearing High School before moving to Wazalendo and later Greensharks, where he played alongside former internationals Nixon Nyangaga and Leon Magomere.
He was called up to the national team in 2005 for the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, where he featured alongside Kenyan icons like Zack Aura, Meshack Senge, Saidi Okwemba and Inderjit Matharu among others.
Kenya Hockey Union chairman Nashon Randiek. PHOTO | FILE |NATION MEDIA GROUP
He last played competitively for Jaguars during the 2014-15 season. The much awaited KHU National Elections were pushed to January 13 after twice been postponed.
Some 10 positions will be up for grabs, among them chairman’s position, two vice chairpersons, Secretary General, vice secretary, match and fixtures secretary, match and fixtures vice secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer and public relations Officer.
Randiek is seeking another four-year term in office but many observers are of the opinion that the sport has continued to degrade with him at the helm.
It remains to be seen who will challenge him noting that he was elected unopposed during the last elections in 2013.
Celebrating the Life of Dr. Lilyan Wright
USA Field Hockey celebrates the legacy of Dr. Lilyan Boyd Wright, a woman who left an ever-lasting mark on field hockey and sport in general. We would like to extend our condolences to Lilyan’s family for her recent passing in late November at the age of 97.
Dr. Wright, who was a Lifetime USA Field Hockey Member and held a Honorary Umpire Rating, had a lifelong passion for field hockey. It was only rivaled by her pursuit of women’s education and athletic rights as an advocate of Title IX and other equal opportunity issues.
Among her many accomplishments and contributions, Lilyan previously served as President of the New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in the 1970s. Additionally, she served as Chair of the New Atlantic Field Hockey Association from 1985-90 and its Sectional Umpiring Committee from 1981-85, and was President of the North Jersey Field Hockey Association for several years.
A teaching and coaching career that spanned to four different high schools and at The College of New Jersey (formally Trenton State College), Lilyan’s dedication to women’s sports laid a foundation that still radiates today. In 1961, she helped introduce TCNJ’s women’s varsity program, where she went on to coach field hockey, as well as basketball, lacrosse, softball and volleyball. She also served as the Dean for the College of Physical Education.
“Lilyan was beloved by our campus community,” said Amanda DeMartino, TCNJ’s Executive Director of Athletics. “Her passion for field hockey and enthusiasm for working with our student-athletes is legendary. She was a strong advocate for Title IX and helped the college remain ahead of the national curve in its dedication to women’s athletics. The impact she made at TCNJ can still be felt today.”
Lilyan continued to educate, coach and officiate boys and girls field hockey after retirement. Her career and dedication also led to the creation of the Lilyan B. Wright Service Award by the New Hampshire Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (NHAHPERD). The award recognizes individuals and organizations that make a significant contribution to the organization. She was inducted into the Temple University Hall of Fame in 1977 and the TCNJ Hall of Fame in 2000.
In a sense, wherever Lilyan went, so too did the impact of her determination to better the lives of others in the present and the future.
USFHA media release