With champions Telkom missing, a new winner will be crowned in this year’s Shaban Yusuf Memorial Hockey Festival event that gets underway on Saturday at the Mombasa Sports Club, Mombasa County.
Telkom failed to meet deadline for registration for the two-day event that has attracted 28 teams.
The annual event has previously celebrated hockey legend and a former Boabab Hockey Club sponsor, the late Agnelo De Souza (Sana) but this time they are celebrating another legend in the frame of Yusuf.
In total, 19 men’s teams and nine ladies teams will battle for top honours.
In the women’s category, Amira Sailors who finished second last year, will be hoping to take advantage of Telkom’s absence to go all the way and win the title. They take on University of Nairobi and DFG Wolverines on Saturday before they battle hosts Mombasa Sports Club in Pool B.
However, Strathmore University and United States International University of Africa, who are in pool ‘A’ alongside Daystar University, Nakuru Royals and Technical University Kenya will highlight Saturday’s matches.
The two sides have a date next Saturday in the Kenya Hockey Union Women’s premier League match.
Strathmore coach Meshack Senge said the tie is a perfect build up ahead of next weekend’s clash.
“Definitely it will be an interesting match to look out for but generally we just want to see if our system will work. There after we will build on that ahead of the league match,” said Senge who double up as the national men’s team.
In the men’s category, Kenya Police will hope to put aside their stuttering season in the league when they line up against Black Tankers.
The law enforcers are drawn in Pool B alongside Strathmore University, Warrior and Kenya College of Accountancy University and will be seeking to reclaim the trophy they last won in 2016.
Champions USIU-A headline Pool C that also has Greensharks, Wazalendo and MSC. USIU open their title defence against MSC before they lock horns with Sharks.
Parkroad are in Pool A with Sailors, Kilifi Hockey Club, Mombasa West and University of Nairobi (UoN) as pool D features Coast Simba, St Charles Lwanga, Daystar University and Mvita.