Domestic hockey followers’ passion for entertaining action is expected to be rekindled when 14 teams battle it out in this year’s Phoenix Assurance tournament scheduled for July 6-8 in Tanga.
Tanga Regional Hockey Association has organized the tournament under sponsorship from Phoenix of Tanzania Assurance Company in cooperation with Lal Insurance Agency. The tournament is held annually in the domestic hockey stakeholders’ bid to continue pushing for successful revival and promotion of the sport at the domestic level.
The tournament also serves as an opportunity for domestic top flight hockey outfits to put themselves in great shape ahead of both domestic and regional assignments penned for later this year. Tanzania Hockey Association (THA) secretary general, Kaushik Doshi, said all matches of the 13th edition of the prestigious Phoenix Assurance tournament will be held at the Popatlal Secondary School’s venue.
He said Tanzanian teams that have already confirmed to participate in the event include Arusha Twigas, Annadil Burhani, El Hilal, Dar es Salaam Institute (DI), Kili Vijana, Magereza, Moshi Khalsa B, Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF), Zanzibar’s Jeshi and defending champions, Moshi Khalsa.
Foreign outfits set to compete in the event are Police from Nairobi and Mwita from Mombasa (Kenya), Kampala Hockey Club (Uganda) and Lusaka Tigers (Zambia). “All the teams are said to be undergoing hard training. This year we have had record entries in the Phoenix Assurance hockey tournament’s history… all preparations are going on smoothly and teams are expected to be in by July 5,” said Doshi.
Moshi Khalsa won the last year’s tournament with a hard fought 1-0 win over El Hilal in what turned out to be an exciting all Tanzanians’ final. Doshi further said since the tournament has become a major regional tournament, Africa Hockey Federation (AfHF) and other stakeholders have also blessed the event, a move that has, in turn, bolstered its status.
With four foreign outfits having lined up to participate in the tournament, domestic hockey lovers will, understandably, be eager to see how the home clubs strive to defend the country’s pride and possibly ensure the silverware stay where it belongs. Moshi Khalsa are currently the Mainland hockey club champions and a lot, therefore, is expected from them as they seek to underline their status as the most feared domestic hockey giants.
By JAPHETH KAZENGA, Tanzania Daily News