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Africa tourney put off

The Africa Cup of Nations Hockey Tournament which was scheduled to begin on Tuesday at the City Park Stadium in Nairobi has been posptoned.

Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) vice chairperson Elynah Shivekah told NairobiNews the tournament was cancelled following the Westgate Mall terror attack in which over 60 lives were lost.

“We regret any inconvenience caused to the teams. KHU could not take chances and hold the championship in light of the attack by al-Shabaab militants,. We will communicate new dates later,” she said.

The Kenyan men and women’s teams had been paired with  South African opponents in their opening matches.

According to the draws released by the Africa Hockey Federation (AHF), Kenya’s men team were scheduled to face South Africa on Tuesday before facing Ghana on Wednesday.

In the women’s contest, the hosts were to begin their title campaign against South Africa before tackling neighbours Tanzania on Wednesday at the same venue.

The matches were scheduled  to be played in a round robin format, in line with the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) rules.

Thereafter, the two top teams will battle it out for the title and earn the right to represent Africa at the 2014 FIH World Cup in The Netherlands.

Initially, the Africa Hockey Union (AHF) and KHU had agreed to move ahead with the event.

Regrettable attack

In an earlier interview, KHU Chairman Nashon Randiek said despite the attack, which he said was regrettable, they had agreed to soldier on with the championship.

“The tournament will go ahead as planned, I have communicated with the Africa Hockey Federation and the International Hockey Federation who are in agreement that the championship proceeds as scheduled,” he said.

Four men and two women’s teams. Nigeria, Namibia, Egypt and Seychelles pulled out of the competition.

KHU said Namibia withdrew owing to lack of funding while Nigeria gave no reason.

African giants Egypt withdrew due to the political instability facing the North African side, while Seychelles are yet to participate in any event since becoming members of AHU.

The national teams held residential training at the Kenya Education Management Institute. The squads were picked last week.