The horses of Sharkia neighed loudly on day one of competition to announce their intention of annexing both men and women’s titles of the Africa Cup for Club Champions Competition being held in Abuja Nigeria.
The Sharkia women set the pace in the morning with a cracking 7-1 victory over the Blue Eaglets of Kenya in a match that they dominated to underscore the resurgence of women’s hockey in Egypt. Their performance re-emphasized the fact that the qualification of the Egyptian National girls under-21 team for the junior World Cup in the USA in 2009 was not a fluke. Sharkia raced into a 3-1 lead at half time and pushed 4 pass the hapless Eaglets after the recess to seal a fine victory.
Telkom Orange wasted countless chances and ended up drawing scoreless with Bayelsa Queens of Nigeria while in the all-Ghanaian affair, CEPS overpowered Reformers 2-0 in a tightly contested match.
The only men’s match between defending champions Sharkia of Egypt and Yobe Dessert Rollers of Nigeria left the Yobe lads rolled over by the powerful Egyptians with a 3-0 win. A modest opening ceremony that was conducted under the auspices of Mr. Folrin Jayeola, Vice President of Nigerian Hockey and in the presence of dignitaries from the Nigerian Senate, Sports Ministry and the Council, the Security Services and the Diplomatic Corp preceded the match.
The young Nigerian team held their own against their much fancied opponents but in the end succumbed to 3 well-taken penalty corner goals to bow to the favourites.
Match day 2 will see women’s champions Heartlands of Nigeria who sat out on day one try to dispose of their counterparts Bayelsa Queens while the Blue Eaglets will seek to regain some lost pride by clawing down their counterparts, Orange ladies of Telkom Kenya. CEPS will sit out on the day but will watch with keen interest how their counterparts Reformers will fare against the tactical Sharkia ladies.
The men’s competition will be full of fireworks as Police Union of Egypt will seek to emulate their compatriots by winning against Golden Sticks of Ghana while Delta Force of Nigeria will employ all the force in their arsenal to subdue Exchequers of the Central Bank of Ghana.
Meanwhile, the media exposure for the tournament has been phenomenal with a record number of electronic and print media partners giving the event enormous publicity. The coordinator of the media relations team, Tunde Popoola has indicated that various programmes have been lined up in which there would be live studio events and interactions among others to highlight the competition and project the sport.