Nairobi: Six teams have confirmed participation in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World Hockey League Series in Nairobi from Sep 2-7.
The competition will serve as a qualifier for the 2015 World League Championships.
African Hockey Federation (AFHF) had initially granted the hosting rights to Zimbabwe, but the southern Africa state declined, citing lack of a certified international playing pitch.
“It is an honour for AFHF to give us the chance to host the tournament, just months after hosting another successful continental championship in Nairobi,” Nahashon Randiek, the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Chairman, said on Tuesday in Nairobi.
“The preparations are going on well. I believe Kenya has a great chance of qualifying to the global tourney on home soil. We failed to South Africa for the World Cup in Netherlands earlier this year and hopefully, this time round, we will get it right.”
Randiak said Kenya was given the rights to host the event by virtue of having successfully hosted major tournaments in the recent past, including Africa Cup of Nation last year.
At the end of World League Series one, top teams (both men and women) will qualify for the second round, where they both face South Africa, who were given a bye after winning the Africa Cup of Nations last year.
The event has attracted Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria and Tanzania, and will see five men’s and four women’s teams battle it out for a spot in the round two.
It is important for Kenya to win because all the finalists at the World League Series, which will be played in Uruguay in July 2015, will earn an automatic entry to the Rio 2016 Olympics Games.
Hosts Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania will field both men and women’s teams while Egypt will send only the men’s team.
The world league round one is open to all teams where the winners from all regions proceed to league two where they join teams ranked from 12-19 on the FIH world ranking.
The winners of round two advance to the semi-finals where they lock horns with the world’s best in hockey ranked 1-11 in the world.AA