Kenya to step up preps for 2024 5-aside World Cup, says Malungu

19 December 2022

National five-a-side hockey team will use the upcoming 2023 international assignments as part of their preparations for  the 2024 World Cup after booking a slot for the inaugural show in Oman.

Kenya finished third in the qualifiers held in Ismailia, Egypt  over the weekend. Kenya will be accompanied by South Africa and Nigeria, who struck gold and silver respectively at the trials. Coach Mike Malungu said exposure is the only way the team can hone their skills as they  seek competitive edge at the grandest stage.

“The 2023 FIH calendar is a beehive of activities. The Africa Games as well as the Junior Africa Cup will come in handy for the boys. We will also sit down with Kenya Hockey Union management next year to generate a programme to keep the boys firing,” Malungu said.

Africa Olympic qualifiers will be held in August at a yet to  be known venue while the Africa Cup for Club Champions will be staged in February in Potchefstroom, South Africa. Despite the impressive team performance, Malungu said every player must fight for his slot, including those not involved at the qualifiers.

“I was satisfied with teamwork embraced by the athletes. It was even more fulfilling considering that we arrived late for the tournament and missed the opening match against Zambia,” Malungu said.

“Mentioning individual players would be a mark of disrespect but everybody was crucial in this intense, short-version of the game. We need thorough preparations since the competition is in a year’s time. Players will have to prove again in training that they are well equipped for the World Cup.”

Kenya lost 4-2 against Nigeria and were humiliated 6-1 by Egypt. however, they beat South Africa 3-2, against all odds. The win saw them settle scores with Zambia in the bronze medal playoff.

Source: The Star, Kenya