ON HOLD

AFHF rings changes to continental calendar of events

KHU secretary general Wycliffe Ongori said Kenya fully supports the new changes and will correspond accordingly.

In Summary

• The three AFHF Regional qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations (ACN) 2021 for both men and women have been put on hold until further notice.

• The North-West Africa and Central-South Africa qualifiers which were slated for June and August in Accra, Ghana and Harare, Zimbabwe respectively will have new dates too.

Green Shark Chris Wokila tackles Kenya Police Kennedy Sibweche
Green Shark Chris Wokila tackles Kenya Police Kennedy Sibweche
Image: /FILE

The African Hockey Federation AFHF has made a raft of changes to the sporting calendar owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemiC.

The three AFHF Regional qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations (ACN) 2021 for both men and women have been put on hold until further notice.

Kenya was to host the week-long North-East Africa regional qualifiers beginning today but the continental governing body will contact the Kenya Hockey Union KHU executive to fix new dates.

The North-West Africa and Central-South Africa qualifiers which were slated for June and August in Accra, Ghana and Harare, Zimbabwe respectively will have new dates too.

KHU secretary general Wycliffe Ongori said Kenya fully supports the new changes and will correspond accordingly.

“We have totally thrown our weight behind the ruling. We just have to align ourselves with the new changes in the hope that the pandemic ends soon. Our real position will only be revealed once COVID-19 ends.”

The changes give the nation adequate time to prepare and the supremo wants players to maintain their fitness while he, at the same time hinted at when the league resumes.

“Generally, we are advantaged in terms of preparation time but remember the government banned all sporting activities making it a tricky affair altogether. Training as a team is impossible at the moment and, therefore, players should maintain fitness on their own.  Hopefully, we will resume the league a month after the pandemic.”

An online AFHF Executive Board meeting that took place late last month necessitated the changes.

The ACN which normally takes place in August every two years has been remodeled to October next year. This is because the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will now take place in July 23-8 August 2021. ACN will act as a qualifier for the World Cup where the women’s edition will be hosted in Spain and Holland in 2022 while the men’s version will be played a year later in India.

The Indoor Africa Cup (IAC) 2020 scheduled to take please in Durban, South Africa from June 12-14 has been pushed to September with new dates to be communicated later.

If the corona situation will not allow this plan to materialise, AFHF will be forced to use the Indoor World Hockey Rankings for qualification to the Indoor World Cup 2021 in Belgium.

Dates will also be modified for the Junior Africa Cup (JAC) which acts as a qualifier for the Junior World Cup. The tournament was set for September in Ghana 2020.

The 47th edition of the International Hockey Federation Federation FIH Congress which was due late October in New-Delhi will take place in India, May next year. The exact date is yet to be confirmed.

Throughout last month, the AFHF had been engaged in many online meetings with FIH and other continental federations to brainstorm ideas and coordinate efforts to formulate the way forward amidst such unprecedented times of uncertainty.