Hockey academy launched in Kisumu
- Already, eight girls who are pioneers of the program are set to join Siaya County girls’ hockey champions, Nyamira Girls High School, while four are proceeding to giants Sinyolo Girls Secondary School in Kisumu.
- Other sports, which the organisers said they intend to introduce are athletics, boxing and Lacrosse.
There is a glimmer of hope that hockey in Kisumu will return to its old days of success following the establishment of a hockey academy in the region.
The facility, which is on it's initial stages of development is located in Rata, Seme sub-county and is the second in Kenya, after the one in Mombasa, which was opened in January 2017.
The projects are being undertaken by Tunza, a sports organisation that was founded by former Kenya international Raqel Otieno.
On Friday, Otieno and former Butali Warriors coach Dennis Owoka presided over the Kisumu’s facility opening ceremony, where they exuded confidence that the project will go a long way in reviving hockey.
“Hockey has gone down in this area (Kisumu) and also in the entire country, the national teams no longer shine in international competitions. We expect the players who will go through this training to turn things around,” said Otieno.
Apart from football, the other sporting discipline that Kisumu County has been known for is hockey. Kisumu Simba ruled the game until 2008, before financial constraints started taking a toll on them. At the time, the club had won the national league five times and produced some of Kenya’s best players.
Owoka, who is the Tunza Sports coaching Director, said the establishment of the academies is a major step in putting the game back on track.
“We want to start from the lowest levels because it is known that when a player is nurtured well right from an early age, they excel. With this program, we expect hockey to improve in a few years to come,” he said.
Currently, the construction of an indoor hockey pitch is underway at the site and Otieno revealed plans to build an outdoor pitch as well. She estimated the construction work to take about two years, also revealing plans to put up a hockey academy in all the 47 counties.
At the Mombasa facility, 40 players are undergoing training, while in Kisumu, 60 have enrolled, with the number expected to increase. Training take place during holidays, weekends and at games time under the watch of various selected coaches.
According to Owoka, they have struck a deal with a number of secondary schools playing hockey to admit the players from the academy once they are through with primary education.
Already, eight girls who are pioneers of the program are set to join Siaya County girls’ hockey champions, Nyamira Girls High School, while four are proceeding to giants Sinyolo Girls Secondary School in Kisumu.
Other sports, which the organisers said they intend to introduce are athletics, boxing and Lacrosse.