Feb 20, 2020
Sikh Union team will capitalise on their experience and home ground advantage to win promotion back to the men’s hockey Premier League.
The 2012 league champions have been given the all-clear by the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) to use their newly named Dashmesh Astroturf Stadium along Forest Road launched in July last year to play their home matches this season.
The team will nonetheless be playing in the Super League after being relegated last season. They finished second last with nine points and a single victory.
Sikh Union have maintained their squad and will be playing in familiar surroundings with a large fan base.
This will, especially, help the team achieve their target as well as redeem their dwindling standards, according to team captain Haggai Pepela.
“We will be very comfortable and confident about playing in our modern facility. As we start with the same team, I am optimistic we will return where we belong. Our turf feels different and the way the ball moves is also different from the City Park Stadium,” he said.
Sikh are the oldest hockey club in the league and have invested a lot in training. Pepela, however, warned the team to be match fit since they will be playing younger sides who can cause them trouble because of their vigorous style of play.
“We have focused more on training and the tactical part of the game. We started training twice as hard as we used to, in December and we have only had a five-day break since then. The second-tier players are physical and youthful because they are mostly university students who are fitter and run a lot. We have to be at the peak condition to be competitive.”
Lack of a cutting edge in front of goal and poor goalkeeping was largely blamed for the team’s dismal performance last season.
The team has worked on the error-prone departments and Pepela said the team will put a brave show with the eagerness to start on a winning note.