Kenya to host African Cup of Nations hockey tournament in September
With the 2014 hockey World Cup slated to be held in The Hague, Netherlands next year, teams across the globe will be taking part in various continental tournaments to seal berths for the marquee event.
Hockey playing nations from Africa will slug it to seal the elusive spot in the 10th men’s and 7th women’s African Cup of Nations tournaments scheduled to be held at the City Park Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya from September 26 to October 6.
The tournament is being organized by the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) under the auspices of the African Hockey Federation.
It may be worth mentioning here that Kenya earned the hosting rights after the African Hockey Federation allotted the event to Egypt, who withdrew their candidature on account of political tensions in the country. In fact, Kenya along with South Africa were kept as standbys.
The matches will be held during the day as well as under floodlights.
This is the second biggest hockey event hosted by Kenya – they earlier staged the 2007 Olympic qualifiers.
Kenya is hosting the African Cup of Nations for the second time. The African country earlier hosted it in 1993.
South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Zimbabwe and hosts Kenya are strong contenders to win this championship in both the men’s and women’s categories.
South Africa have been dominating the men’s African Cup of Nations for a long while now. They have won this event for the six consecutive times since cornering glory in the 1993 edition in Nairobi. Egypt have won it twice while Ghana won it once.
In the women’s section, South Africa have also held sway, winning the championship for six consecutive times with Zimababwe winning it once.
The inaugural men’s African Cup of Nations was held in Cairo, Egypt, where Ghana won the crown. The inaugural women’s African Cup of Nations was held in Harare, Zimbabwe, where the host nation annexed the title.
The last African Cup of Nations was held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, where South Africa pipped Egypt by a solitary goal to take the men’s crown, while their women crushed Kenya 5-0 lay their hands on the winning trophy.
Both the men’s and women’s African Cup of Nations tourneys is held every two years since 2005. Prior to 2005, the event did not follow a stipulated time-frame and used to be held every three, four, five years or even more.