Tanga’s El Hilal Hockey Club is expected to clash with Zambia’s Lusaka Tigers in one of the opening matches of this year’s Phoenix Assurance tournament at the Popatlal Secondary School’s venue in Tanga on Thursday.
Tanga Regional Hockey Association has organized the 13th edition of the prestigious domestic top flight hockey event under sponsorship from Phoenix of Tanzania Assurance Company in conjunction with Lal Insurance Agency.
Tanga Regional Hockey Association’s official, Kaushik Doshi, who also doubles as the Tanzania Hockey Association (THA) Secretary General, said 13 clubs will battle it out in the tournament instead of the scheduled 14 after a Dar es Salaam outfit, Dar Institute (DI) decided to pull out at the eleventh hour.
“DI and Mwita (Mombasa, Kenya) had confirmed but withdrew at the last minute and Mombasa Sports Club was taken in. Therefore, now 13 teams are participating”, he said.
The 13 teams have been put into four pools, in which pools A, C and D will have three teams each while pool B will comprise four.
Pool A has Tanga’s Annadil Burhani, Magereza of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa Sports Club of Kenya as pool B consists of Arusha Twigas, Kenya Police, Kilimanjaro’s Moshi Khalsa B and Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) of Dar es Salaam.
Pool C teams are Kampala Hockey Club, Kilimanjaro’s Moshi Khalsa A and Zanzibar combine while pool D has last year’s runners up, El Hilal of Tanga, Kili Vijana from Kilimanjaro and Zambia’s Lusaka Tigers.In another match that will be held at another ground located within the Popatlal Secondary School’s premises, Khalsa B from Kilimanjaro will face Kenya’s Police in what is expected to be an exciting pool D duel.
Doshi said the Lusaka Tigers had already arrived in Tanga ready to successfully battle for the top honour in its maiden appearance in the annual tournament.All opening matches will start at 4.30p.m. and the following day is expected to be much busier, in which a total of six matches involving all four pools will take place.
Two matches will be held in the morning, in which Moshi Khalsa B will meet TPDF in pool B while pool C will see Zanzibar combine side take on Uganda’s Kampala Hockey Club. Four other matches will then take place at the same venues later in the evening.
The tournament, which has lately won the recognition of the Africa hockey federation (AfHF), is expected to come to a close on Sunday.
By JAPHETH KAZENGA, Tanzania Daily News