Sport

AHF introduces new Cup of Nations qualifying criteria

AHF introduces new Cup of Nations qualifying criteria
  • In the previous editions, nations participated in the event by virtue of their position in the rankings thus locking out a number of participants.

Kenya will be forced to take part in a qualification tournament to seal its place in the 2021 Hockey Africa Cup of Nations, according to new rules introduced by Africa Hockey Federation (AHF).

In the previous editions, nations participated in the event by virtue of their position in the rankings thus locking out a number of participants.

The newly introduced continental qualification system has seen regions divided into three with Kenya being drawn in the North-East Africa region, alongside Burundi, Libya, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda for the qualifiers.

North-West region has Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo while Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe form the Central South region.

The two top teams from the three regions in the men’s category, will join South Africa and Egypt, while in the ladies version, winners will link up with South Africa and Ghana that were given a bye.

The move to introduce the new system was to improve participation of teams and at the same time give a level playing field.

“Many a time countries have failed to participate in the event due to various reasons but budgetary issues have been the major reason. For instance, it will be easy and cheap for Kenya to field a team in event hosted in Tanzania or Uganda than sending the team to South Africa,” said Kenya Hockey Union deputy fixture secretary Moses Majiwa.

“The move will also help with the growth and improvement of the sport in these regions especially in the countries that the discipline is not popular."

Kenya teams participated in the last edition that was held in Egypt and they both finished last in the four-nation tournament that saw Egypt win the men’s’ version while South Africa won the ladies title.

At the same time, KHU secretary general Wycliffe Ongori said they hope to field the teams in the event set for April in a yet to be decided venue.

Ongori however revealed they have bid to host the event.

“We send our budget to the Sports Ministry before December 31 as they had demanded and we hope we will have the finances as we are willing to host the qualifiers and if not compete in the event. But this can only happen if we have money," said Ongori.