NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s hockey team manager Michael Malungu
believes his team has the skills and strength to withstand
strong challenges from giants South Africa and Nigeria to clinch
gold at the Africa Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria.
Speaking in Nairobi
on Wednesday evening, Malungu said Kenya will prove its critics
wrong when it launches its title campaign on Thursday in boys’
hockey against Zambia.
A top two finish in
their pool will see the country secure a semifinal berth to
possibly face South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe or hosts
Algeria. “It is our objective to qualify for the Youth
Olympic Games by winning the Africa title,” said Malungu. “The
boys are ready because we have had intense training for the last
two months in Kakamega and Nairobi,” he added.
One of the two
finalists will secure a ticket to Buenos Aires, Argentina in
October for the Youth Olympics. However, the top three teams
will have a shot at the World Championships in 2019.
competition starts on Thursday. On Friday, Kenya will take on
Nigeria with the final group game set for Saturday against
Uganda. Kenya is coached by Kevin Lugalia.
Algeria will host
the third African Youth Games, which will see 3,000 athletes
from 54 nations engage in 30 disciplines over a period of ten
“It’s been our
culture to produce world class athletes in the Olympics and we
shall keep at it through proper grooming of young sportsmen from
a tender age. We want Kenya to run clean and safe and (we) have
sensitized them (athletes) against doping,” said National
Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) chairman Paul Tergat.
Kenya will be keen
to emulate the feats of four years ago in Botswana, where the
national team won 25 medals to finish seventh overall.