• Uganda was granted qualification being the only team to confirm participation alongside the hosts.
• "Ideally, we should be playing the likes of Ghana and Nigeria especially with fewer hockey activities this calendar year," saidMajiwa.
The government should channel the funds meant for hosting the aborted North East Africa qualifiers to the national hockey teams in preparation for the African Cup of Nations, a senior hockey official has said.
Kenya Hockey Union deputy match and fixtures secretary Moses Majiwa said with Kenya now declared qualified for the January 2022 continental showpiece, it would be ideal to have sound preparations.
ACN, which acts as a World Cup qualifier, was to be held in October this year but has been moved due to the Covid-19 pandemic and where the winner books an automatic ticket.
A bidding war to host the ACN is expected in the coming months.
"The government has saved money which was to be used to host the regional tournament from next month. These funds can be used to help the federation organise recognised international friendly matches to gauge how prepared the teams are," said Majiwa.
"Hosting the qualifiers would have enabled the coaches to identify the strengths and weakness but without playing, it's easier for the players to stagnate."
For Kenya to be competitive, Majiwa said, they need to play high-ranked teams continentally. South Africa, Egypt and Ghana are the best-ranked teams followed by Kenya while Nigeria and Namibia are also coming off age.
"Ideally, we should be playing the likes of Ghana and Nigeria, especially with fewer hockey activities this calendar year. We cannot spend the whole of 2021 without any preparations. Training at the City Park Stadium and playing against nobody add up to nothing. Between now and December, the government must come in," Majiwa stated.
Uganda was granted qualification being the only team to confirm participation alongside the hosts.
Other men's teams that were expected include Burundi, Libya, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
The women's team was to also face similar opposition with Egypt the only addition. Kenya last played a competitive match against an Indian team in July 2019.