Former Sikh Union and Kenyan national Hockey team captain Inderjit Matharu believes the installation of an artificial surface at the club’s home ground in Parklands will revive the dwindling standards of the game both at the club and national team level.
Sikh, who have in the past produced 26 Olympic players, have been reduced to a shadow of former self due to what Matharu attributes to lack of enough facilities to nurture upcoming talent. He, however, predicted new dawn following the installation of the modern surface.
The new surface, which is akin to the national stadium at City Park will serve as the home ground to the Kenyan Hockey Union (KHU) men’s Premier League 2012 champions, who have been tipped to regain their prowess in the near future.
Matharu, who retired from active play after 36 years, said the surface will help revive the club’s junior team which will serve as a feeder to the senior team as well.
The pitch, which estimated to have cost Sh70 million, will officially be opened next week and organisers have invited two teams from India to be part of the launch. The tournament will also be graced by two clubs from Twiga Sports Club Tanzania and yet to be selected local clubs.
“It’s a dream come true for the club to have an artificial turf of their own and I believe this will help revive our hockey standards.
“We have sunk to regrettable lows as a club in the league due to lack of facilities but that will be a thing of the past as the team will be able to train regularly and integrate outstanding ones to the team.
“It’s long since we won the league but we hope to turn around fortunes soon. As a country, we have also been doing badly due to lack of facilities in all regions which makes the development of the sport quite tough,” he said.
Meanwhile, the club’s former chairman and a trustee Manminder Sigh Jandu hailed the new venue and hinted of partnering with schools and the union to have league matches and training hosted there.
“This pitch meets the Olympic standards and it is only fair to have one here considering the legends we have produced before. We are looking to partner with schools and other clubs to nurture talent and host their matches here at a reasonable fee. We are looking to discuss with KHU and host league matches here. It has taken collective efforts from members of the club and former players who are now based overseas to achieve this milestone.”
His sentiments were echoed by legendary player Avtar Singh Sohal who has previously served as Friends School Kamusinga hockey coach.