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Hosts ready to shine at Continental event

Kenya’s Telkom Orange and Sliders’ women’s hockey clubs will be gunning for glory as the Africa Cup of Club Championship gets underway on Saturday at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

Ten women’s sides (the highest entry in five years) are taking part in the competition that has also attracted nine men’s teams.

Orange, who have won the title a record eight times, are the reigning champions and favourites. They will, however, face stiff competition from the 2015 finalists Ghana Police as well Ghana Revenue Authority, who finished third in 2015.

Former champions Heartland from Nigeria are also expected to pose a threat while their second team Elrufai will be looking for a good show as they make their debut. Egyptian club Sharkia, who finished fourth last year, are also in the hunt for cup success.

Weatherhead and Wananchi will represent Uganda.

Self-sponsored Sliders will be in Pool A action against Weatherhead in one of the three women’s matches on Saturday.

Sliders are returning to the competition after an eight-year absence. They were champions on their debut in 1999 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

In 2000, they finished third in Egypt and then missed out on the championship for the next nine years before they reached the final in 2009, losing 2-1 to Telkom Orange in the final played at the City Park Stadium.

Sliders coach Felix Okoth has left nothing to chance, securing the services of Kenya international striker Gilly Okumu from Strathmore, experienced utility back Lorraine Nondi (Amira Sailors) as well the duo of Rhoda Kuira and Rachel Wangui from United States International University-Africa.

“We have been in camp for the last 15 days. The team is hungry and fired up to go,” Okoth said.

Sliders know that a win will set them off to a good start in a pool that also has champions Orange, Sharkia and Elrufai.

Okumu is expected to lead the team’s attack with veteran striker Anita Agunda, who was voted the Most Valuable Player at the 2009 edition.

Champions Orange launch their title defence on Sunday against Elrufai. Tickets for the event are retailing at sh200 (regular) and sh1,000 (VIP).

Daily Nation

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