The tournament is organized jointly by Kenya Hockey Union, Africa Hockey Federation (AHF) and the Federation of International Hockey (FIH). Assistant national coach Mnonda Magani confirmed to the ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam yesterday the cancelation of the team’s trip to Mombasa this month as earlier planned.
He said they are now working on possibilities of inviting the Mombasa Club ladies hockey team to Dar es Salaam to play friendly matches against the national team. “Lack of sufficient funds has prevented the team to travel to Mombasa where they could play friendly matches against the Kenya national team and Mombasa Club,” he said.
“But we are looking for means to host Mombasa Club team here as we know it’s very important to have trial matches before the Nairobi event,” he added. The Tanzania Hockey Association (THA) recently claimed that they were looking for high profile international trials for the national ladies team against top African teams, possibly South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Magani said the team, which is under head coach, Italian Valentina Quaranta are in good condition and gearing up for the tournament. The ladies are currently undergoing extensive offcamp training at the Karume Memorial Stadium in Dar es Salaam and Magani thanked the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) for allowing them to practice at their premises.
Tanzania will send only the ladies team to the Nairobi event thanks to Italian nongovernmental organisations Cooperazione Paesi Emergenti (COPE) and Tulime Onlus.
Italy Hockey Federation, Lion Club Savona, individual Italian players, Quantara’s friends and well-wishers are also supporting the team. Magani said the national men’s team are yet to secure sponsorship and may not travel to Nairobi.
The Africa Nations Cup serves as a qualifier for the World Cup Hockey Competition scheduled for 2014. The event was last held in Zimbabwe in 2011 where South Africa qualified after beating Egypt and Ghana in the men’s and women’s finals respectively.