What you need to know:
- The Executive Board will then share the findings with the Congress that will be held Tuesday where a decision will be made.
- Lakers are likely to be banned, suspended or fined after the Congress decision.A Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the Kisumu-based outfit face serious punishment.
Kenya's Lakers women's hockey team will on Tuesday know their fate after they were disqualified from the just concluded Africa Cup for Club Champions in Blantyre, Malawi for fielding ineligible players.
The Africa Hockey Federation (AfHF) Executive Board held a meeting Monday in Malawi to discuss among other things the fate of Lakers, who were found culpable of going against Competitions Rules and Regulations.
The Executive Board will then share the findings with the Congress that will be held Tuesday where a decision will be made.
Lakers are likely to be banned, suspended or fined after the Congress decision. A Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the Kisumu-based outfit face serious punishment.
"That's a serious offense and the decision that will be taken might be harsh and unfavorable, but we wait to hear what will come out of the meeting. Should the club be banned, then we will appeal to Africa Hockey Federation to be lenient on duration which might be more than two years especially on the players," said the source, while recollecting a previous incident where Sharkia of Egypt was banned for failing to collect medals during an awarding ceremony of the same championship.
"Imagine failing to pick a medal and you are banned for two years, what of this massive offense of fielding ineligible players?"
Section C of the AfHF Rules and Regulations on qualification and eligibility of players and participating teams in continental events states that: "National Associations (NA) which enter clubs will be responsible for approving clubs list and ensuring compliance with the (AfHF) requirement for qualification and eligibility of players. Entry will be limited to the players who are officially registered with a participating club that is affiliated to the National Association and whose entry is approved by the NA. However, each team may enter no more than three non-nationals, who must be registered with the club and resident in that country."
Asked if the KHU were privy to the list that Lakers submitted to the Malawi Hockey Association, the source said the initial list didn't reflect the final list Lakers submitted to the organisers.
"We are only privy to the first list that the club sent to the organisers. Going forward, it's the jurisdiction of the club to ensure that any changes they make on the list, they share with the organisers. It's therefore unfortunate that Lakers might not have done due diligence after making last minute changes and this burst their bubble," the source added.
In a previous interview with Nation Sport, Lakers team Manager John Paul revealed that the club had sought the services of Kenyan International and Amira Sailors forward Gilly Okumu, Dutch Flower Group (DFG) Wolverine striker Pauline Ochieng and University of Nairobi's Clementine Nyongesa.
However, it's now emerging that Lakers might have had five more players not affiliated to the club in Malawi. Lakers were primed to play in the final against reigning champions Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) of Ghana on Sunday after emerging in the top two positions at the completion of the preliminary stage on Saturday.
However, hours before the final match on Sunday, a communique from the organisers which was sent to participating teams and seen by Nation Sport revealed that GRA ,Delta Queens from Nigeria and Kenya's Blazers lodged the complaint against Lakers.
"Team, there has been a need to communicate to you about the latest development. Delta Queens, GRA Ladies and Blazers brought about the use of ineligible players by Lakers hockey club. An investigation was launched and the report came out to be true. Lakers hockey club has therefore been disqualified from the competition," read the statement.
Nine-time champions Blazers, who had defeated Capital Braves of Malawi 12-0 to finish third and were due to face Delta Queens in the bronze medal match, were elevated to second place and were primed to face GRA for the title.
But as both sides were warming up for the match, Lakers players stormed the National Stadium pitch in protest saying they ought to be the ones playing against GRA.
After the impasse,organisers ruled that final standings of the preliminary matches would be used to determine the winners with GRA retaining their title, while Blazers finished second to secure bronze and Delta third.
Lakers were making their second appearance at the continental event after their debut at the delayed 2022 edition held in Nairobi in February where they finished fourth. They travelled to Malawi by road and started their journey back home Monday at 11am and are expected in the country Wednesday evening.
In the men's final, Western Jaguars completed the silver double for the country after going down 4-2 to holders Sharkia of Egypt. Sheldone Kimtai and Conrad Wafula scored in the fifth and 44th minutes for Jaguars, while Ali Ateif Hamada and Ahmed Ali Ahmed bagged braces for Sharkia.
Jaguars team manager Peter Okova said they were punished for not taking their chances.
"The fact that we scored early in the game shows our desire. We didn't take our chances and we were punished. We picked a lot of positives from the tournament and we can only get better in future assignments. We are happy with the performance of the lads, but one thing we need to work on is the players mentality," he said.
Jaguars were set to begin their journey by road Sunday 10pm and are expected to arrive in the country on Tuesday evening.