The Kenya Hockey Union (KHU), yesterday, named the final list of men and ladies to form part of the official national squad representing Kenya in the Olympic qualifiers at Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Released just a week before the event is set to commence, the list typifies a deliberate effort by the union to include newer names and faces replacing the older elements of the national teams. Among the new arrivals in the men’s team include goalkeepers Prince Omollo and Simon Odhiambo from KCA-U and Strathmore Gladiators respectively. Newcomers Paul Omariba and Rioba Otora are part of the defense, with Ivan Ludiali, Franklin Wahongo, and Douglas Nyerere also making their national debuts this year.
In the ladies team, goalkeeper Nouvelle Ochia and Lucy Wangechi in the defense will also be making their maiden appearance as representatives of the nation. The midfield is also packed with new faces including USIU-A’s Harriet Atieno, Grace Makokha, and Leah Omwandho from Amira Sailors. Ruth Adhiambo and Eleanor Chebet are the new faces that are gracing the forward line, alongside veteran appearances in the department.
Some surprise exclusions were conspicuous, eliciting bafflement among most hockey fans in the aftermath of the list’s release. Among them include Butali Warriors’ goalkeeper, Lynus Sang and USIU-A defender Sam Ratia. The ladies’ list’s most notable exclusion is Chase Amira’s Pauline Naise, expected to have been a lethal component of the forward line.
The team continues its preparations for travel today, with the finalization of VISA applications ongoing. Current expectations are that they will leave for Stellenbosch on the 9th of August, with the first fixture for the men’s team slotted for the 12th.
Congratulations to all those that made the squad. The country stands behind you. Do us proud.