Extinguishers of the Ghana National Services failed to rise above their perpetual position as bridesmaids of African Women’s Club Hockey, when they lost 1-2 to Kenya Telkom in the finals of the 2006 Africa Clubs Championship.Fire led early in the game but failed to hold on to the lead allowing a determined Telkom to equalizer and take the lead.
According to sources in Nairobi, the players of Extinguishers were not able to inspire themselves to rise up to the challenge as Telkom rediscovered themselves after the initial scare and dominated the game to win the gold medal. Extinguishers lost the finals in 2002 against the same side in Accra and lost again in the final to Heartland hockey Club of Imo State Nigeria in 2004. Just when the followers of the game back home had tipped them to be third time lucky and rule Africa, they let themselves, the fans and the country down by failing to rise to the occasion.
In the men’s competition, Sharkia of Egypt beat their counterparts Police Union in a penalty shoot-out to win the 2006 version of the championship. This brings Sharkia’s haul to an unrivalled 14 championship, three short of a clean sweep of the competition since its inception. Nigerian Delta Flickers won bronze and Kenya Army ranked 4th while Golden sticks of Ghana came 5th. Marine Sticks were ranked joint 6th with Kenya Police after failing to make an impact in the Kenyan capital.
Ghana’s Richard Akpokavie was the Tournament Director (TD), while umpires George Mensah, Aziz Salami and Edna Yekeh officiated during matches in the men and women’s competitions. Judges Kingsley Tenkorang and Agatha Hagan were also on duty during the competition. The Ghana Hockey Association (GHA) was represented by Mr. Yaw Adu, Chairman for Events and Competitions Committee. The GHA’s Chairman for the Marketing and Sponsorship Committee who was on a private visit to Kenya also attended some of the matches to inspire the Ghanaian teams.
The teams and officials are expected home during the week and the Areeba Hockey League will resume over the weekend with some exciting and cliff-hanger pairings.