By: BRIAN YONGA
Nairobi Water women’s handball team and National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) men’s team have confirmed their participation in the forthcoming East and Central Africa Club Championship set for December 6-12 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Jack Ochieng-coached Nairobi Water will seek to defend the title they won last year in the event held in Nairobi at the Nyayo National Stadium handball court, while NCPB will be out to improve.
The water queens beat NCPB’s women 31-21 in an all-Kenyan final after 2013 champions Democratic Republic of Congo Police had failed to show up for their title defence.
The men’s competition was won by the DRC Police who beat Uganda Prisons 36-28 to take the title for the third time in a row.
Kenya Handball Federation (KHF) fixtures secretary Charles Omondi said the federation had sent the invites to various clubs who feature in the KHF national league, but Nairobi Water and NCPB are the only teams which have already confirmed their participation.
The official however said the self-sponsored Black Mamba (men) and Kenya Defence Forces (men) have shown intent to feature in the annual event, but are yet to confirm their participation.
“It’s unfortunate that university teams will not take part in the six-day event because of varied reasons, but as a federation, we hope the other teams-Black Mamba and KDF will give us feedback in time,” said Omondi.
“It’s only through competitions like this that our teams can get the experience and exposure that as a country we need the most.”
At the same time, Nairobi Water and NCPB have intensified their training at their respective training locations ahead of the week-long regional event.
NCPB is training at the Silos ground in Donholm, while the national champions have pitched camp at the Nyayo Stadium.
Nairobi Water team manager Carolyne Kusa said the team will look to put their dismal performance at last month’s Africa Club Championship in Morocco behind them and defend their crown.
“We are fresh from featuring in the Africa Club Championship in Morocco, and so the players are still in the competition mood. We want to end the year on a high,” she told Daily Nation Sport.
Kusa further added that the team is focusing on speed and power which proved to be their undoing in Morocco where the team finished in last place after failing to win a single match in event that attracted 10 teams.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION