The future is orange for Kenya club hockey
Telkom Orange coach Jos Openda has said he will consider this season a success if his team retains their Africa Club Championship title next year.
The continental event will be staged at the City Park Stadium from January 7-15 and Orange, who have won the club showpiece eight times, will be gunning for another piece of silverware.
The team clinched a record 19th Kenya Hockey Union women’s Premier league title in december after they hit Amira Sailors 4-0 in their final match of the season.
Orange finished on 22 points, two more than Strathmore University Scorpions, who went into the final fixtures also with a chance of winning the title. Openda noted that the club championship is the ultimate prize and his team will seek to retain it.
“We can’t celebrate just yet because the job is only half done and we have to focus on Africa Club Championships. We will be up against more tougher opponents in the continental event and we resume training immediately to focus on that,” Openda told Daily Nation Sport.
Orange beat Ghana Police 3-2 on post-match penalties to win a record eighth title last year in Zambia, their fourth in a row.
Openda admitted that the domestic league does not give his team real competition to prepare for the tougher continental assignment.
“Orange is always going to dominate for years to come. Other teams will need to up their game to make the league more competitive in the future.”
However, they were pushed all the way by Scorpions, who are the only team that that took points from the defending champions. The sides played out a thrilling 2-2 draw this season, with Orange forced to come back from two goals down.
Scorpions coach Meshack Senge believes the gap is growing smaller and other sides like Amira Sailors, who made their debut this season and finished third will challenge for the title next season.
“We showed that they are beatable and I think other sides just need to have the experience and drop the fear factor when they face Orange,” Senge said.
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