NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Four countries have confirmed
participation in the inaugural East Africa hockey youth
tournament set for Nairobi from February 15-17.
tournament, which will be played under the five-a-side rule,
will have strong team representation from regional giants
Uganda, Tanzania, Seychelles and hosts Kenya.
Rwanda and Burundi are yet to confirm.
Wycliffe Ongori, Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) secretary general
said here Friday that the tournament aims at expanding the sport
in the east Africa region and developing the young players ahead
of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
"Africa had a firm footing on the global hockey circuit.
|But there have been concerns that the game’s popularity is
waning in the continent.
"Starting the development process at the youth level will lay
a firm foundation to revive the sport," Ongori said.
He said the International Hockey Federation is worried by the
slow growth of the sport in the continent. This has prompted the
African Hockey Federation to split the region into three zones
(East, West and South).
"There are growing concerns by International Hockey
Federation (FIH) that the sport has stalled and African Hockey
Confederation decided that for the sport to continue to grow
they should organize mini events and that’s why the East zone
has decided to stage this youth event," said Ongori.