Seasoned stars snubbed as final squad unveiled for Africa show

Seasoned players, Caroline Guchu and Tracy Karanja will not be part of the women’s hockey squad that will grace the African Cup of Nations Championships scheduled for Ghana between January 17-23.

The experienced Blazers’ midfield duo, who had consistently donned the national team colours for almost a decade, failed to make the final list that was named on Thursday.

Karanja captained the team during the Olympic Qualifiers held at Stellenbosch, South Africa in 2019.

Veteran striker, George Mutira, who was recalled from retirement has also been dropped from the men’s squad after undergoing a minor finger procedure.

It is still unclear though when the contingent is set to make the trip if the words of the Kenya Hockey Union chairman Nashon Randiek are anything to go by.

” I still do not know when the team is leaving. The board will approve the budget tomorrow so the faster it is done the better,” Randiek said.

“We have had obstacles along the way but the technical bench did their job in the best manner possible to come up with a competitive squad. The run is going to be tough because we have not had competitive hockey for two years.”

United States International University midfielder Rodha Kuira will captain the side in the absence of Karanja while Laker’s prodigy Alice Owiti will deputize her. Constant Wakhura will captain the men assisted by Western Jaguars’ Ivan Ludiali. Ludiali doubles up as the Under 21 captain.

Women’s coach Jackline Mwangi said it was hard to select the team because of stiff competition, adding that new players have a point to prove.

“I believe the girls will give a good give account of themselves. We are building for the future and that’s why there are a lot of new faces,” she said.

Men’s assistant coach Michael Malungu believes the time is ripe for Kenya to rediscover lost glory on the international stage. “The players are fired up and ready to write off previous wrongs,” said Malungu.

The men’s national team are in Pool A alongside Namibia and South Africa. They play Namibia on January 18 before taking on champions South Africa the following day. Pool B has Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, and neighbouring Uganda.

The ladies will battle it out in Pool B against Ghana, Nigeria, and Zambia. The Kenya Queens take on Zambia on Monday, play Ghana on January 18 before rubbing shoulders with Nigeria a day later. Pool A has South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Uganda.

Men’s team.

Samwel Silong, Solomon Murila, Constant Wakhura, Robert Masibo, Emmanuel Wiswa, Kennedy Munialo, Edson Omukamani, Maxwell Fuchaka, Allan Iningu, Ivan Ludiali, Clifford Omari, Clayson Luvanda, Richard Njuki, Brian Ogenche, Danston Barasa, Festus Onyango, Bethuel Masambo, Titus Kimutai, Francis Kariuki.

Women’s team.

Fiona Makena, Milly Adhiambo, Lynn Mwangi, Beatrice Mbugua, Vivian Anyango, Beverly Akoth, Flavia Mutiva, Naomi Kemunto, Maureen Owiti, Maureen Okumu, Grace Okumu, Leah Omwandho, Tamunai Kipsang, Jeriah Nyanchamah, Grace Bwire, Alice Owiti, Rhoda Kuira, Chebet Eleanor, Aurelia Opondo.

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