National women’s hockey team coach Jacqueline Mwangi is confident her charges ‘will do the job’ against Uganda during their friendly matches that start on Thursday at the Sikh Union, Nairobi.
Mwangi revealed that she had drafted some of the under-21 players in the senior team for continuity.
“It’s a good team and I’m optimistic of good results. We have the U-21 Africa Cup of Nations coming up in August and this event will give the players a feel of what to expect at that stage,”said the former national team player.
“I played against Uganda and now I will be on the touchline, but one thing I know is that it will be a good match.They will give us the competition we really need,” the evergreen Blazers (formerly Telkom) added.
The test matches, which also include the men’s teams are set for March 18-21, are consolation matches after North East Africa qualifiers that was scheduled for March 1-7 in Nairobi were cancelled.
The two were the only nations that had confirmed participation in the qualifiers, thus prompting Africa Hockey Federation (AfHF) to cancel the event and give the duo direct tickets to the Cup of Nations next year.
Egypt, Burundi, Libya, Seychelles, Sudan and Tanzania failed to confirm participation.
Speaking Wednesday evening on phone on their way to Nairobi, Uganda national men’s team coach Vincent Kasasa says they will be in Nairobi to get the International Hockey Federation (FIH) rankings.
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Kasasa said they last featured in the international events during the 2007 Africa Olympic qualifiers that was staged in Nairobi and since then, they have been dormant and thus losing out on the FIH funding.
“We are here for revenge. We lost to Kenya 5-0 in 2007 and it’s high time we stamp our authority. We have trained well and the players are in good shape.We can’t wait for the test matches. If we register wins, then it will be a good foundation to begin rebuilding the team something that I’m passionate about,” said Kasasa, a former under-21 men’s coach.
Women’s coach Sandra Namusoke said the test matches will help gauge the players’ performance under pressure.
“We are inferior to Kenya who have dominated the East Africa scene and therefore, we hope to step up and stage a good show. The friendly matches are build up to the 2022 African Cup of Nations and probably what we will get here will be a reflection of what to expect in Ghana. And so we have to give a good account of ourselves,” said the former Kampala Hockey club player.
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