What you need to know:
- The men's team will face Burundi, Libya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Seychelles, where the top two nations will proceed to the next year’s Cup of Nations.
- The ladies will battle favourites Egypt, Burundi, Libya, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda for the two slots.
Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) has named Fidhelis Kimanzi and former international Jackline Mwangi as the new men’s and women’s national team coaches.
And their first assignments will be the North East Region qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations set for May 11 to 17 at the Sikh Union Hockey Stadium in Nairobi.
Kimanzi, who led Wazalendo men’s team to a second finish in the Premier League last season behind winners Butali Sugar Warriors, will be assisted by Western Jaguars coach Mike Malungu.
Mwangi, a prolific striker with women's Premier League champions Blazers, formerly Telkom, and an International Hockey Federation Athletes Committee member, will be assisted by teammates Barbara Simiyu and Glenis Namasake.
The trio have been part of the Blazers team that has won the league title a record 22 times as well as the continental crown 10 times.
Kimanzi takes over from Meshack Senge, while Mwangi replaces Tom Olal, who were in charge of the two teams during the last year’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Africa qualifiers in Cape Town, where the sides failed to sparkle.
The men’s team finished fifth in the six-nation tournament that saw hosts South Africa book the sole ticket to the Olympics in Japan, while the women’s side finished fourth in the five-nation event also won by South Africa.
Malungu will, however, be the head coach of the under 21 men’s team, assisted by the experienced and former national team player, Zack Aura.
Mwangi, Simiyu and Namasake have been retained as the U-21 women’s coaches.
KHU Secretary General, Wycliffe Ongori, confirmed the new development saying it was for the progress of the sport.
“The Executive together with the Coaching & Development Committee looked at the performance of the previous coaches and they were not satisfied during the meeting held yesterday at the City Park Stadium and thus the change.
We have given the new technical bench two years to gauge their performance, but all in all the changes are always geared towards giving a chance to other coaches.
Those who have been discharged off the duties will serve KHU in other capacities” said Ongori.
The men's team will face Burundi, Libya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Seychelles, where the top two nations will proceed to the next year’s Cup of Nations.
The ladies will battle favourites Egypt, Burundi, Libya, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda for the two slots.