An appraisal of the Kenyan men's hockey team performance in international field hockey competition (1956 - 1996)
Asembo, J. M.
Njororai, W. W. S.
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Although Field Hockey was introduced in Kenya at the beginning of the 20th century, her first major international competition was the 1956 Olympic Games held at Melbourne, Australia in which she was ranked 10th. The best performance by the Kenyan men's team was at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games where the team was ranked 6th and during the World Cup tournament in Barcelona ,Spain in 1971 where she ranked 4th. Since then the team IS performance has not been impressive. The poor performance by the team is of major concern especially to a sporting nation like Kenya. Thus, the purpose of this study was to analyse the performance of the Kenyan men's hockey team in international competitions from 1956 to 1996. During this period, the Kenyan men's team participated in the East African tournament (Rahim Jivraji Cup )/which she constantly won; All Africa Games' Hockey Competition (won only once -1987 ) ; Indira Gandhi Memorial Gold Cup in which her best performance has been 4th position (1992 & 1994) ;African Cup of Nations which has never won, World Cup where her best performance was the 4th ranking in 1971 at Barcelona, Spain and the Olympic Games in which Kenya represented the African Continent till 1988 when Egypt and South Africa edged her out in 1992 and 1996 respectively. A critical analysis indicated that ,Kenyan men's team performances could be classified into four periods: 1956-1971 (major achievements), 1972 -1984 (mixed luck and decline in performance),1985 -1993 (worst performance) and 1994 -1996 (some revival). Some of the factors which contributed to the impressive performances in the 1956 -1971 period included adequate finances for exposure and motivation of players, good management and administration of the sport, participation in local international tournaments and well structured league' at national level. The factors associated with poor performances in 1972 -1993 included boycott of the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games, poor, management and administration of the sport, lack of adequate modern facilities, inferior systems of play and lac]; of exposure for players. For field hockey to develop in Kenya, there is need for development of coaching ,administration and management programmes. Effective talent identification and development programme ought to be instituted urgently. Further, the local coaches need to update their knowledge in the sport so that only qualified coaches are employed to manage the national team.