Africa: Four Things We Learned From the Africa Club Championship

18 December 2018

Tuesday is rest day at the 2018 Africa Cup for Club Hockey Championship in Abuja, Nigeria as teams take stock of their performances so far.

It has been three days of sizzling action at the Abuja National Stadium with 12 teams - six men and six women - batting for the top honours on the continental front.

Action continues on Wednesday as teams look for points that will see them reach the final.

Here are four things we learned after the first three days of action:

Telkom are the real deal

The nine-time champions have been ruthless so far, winning their opening three matches of the annual tourney to sit top of the women's standings with nine points.

A win in their fourth game on Wednesday against Nigeria's Delta Queens will seal the Kenyan champions place in Saturday's final.

Jos Openda's charges are playing like a wounded lion seeking to reclaim the title and if they can keep up with such performances, a 10th title looks like a reality.

USIU Spartans find the going tough

Kenya's second team at the competition, United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) Spartans, are struggling on their debut in their continental showpiece.

After three games, the students are rooted at the bottom of the standings with only one point. They have lost twice and drawn once so far.

They were always going to struggle against Telkom, champions Ghana Revenue Authority, who have played at the competition for many years.

They can fight for a respectable finish in their remaining fixtures and pick the necessary experience.

GRA do not have the champions' spark

When GRA beat Telkom 1-0 in the 2017 final in front of their fans in Accra, many had predicted a shift of power with the West Africans finally ending years of heartbreak at the hands of their Kenyan rivals.

They arrived at this year's competition as overwhelming favourites after retaining their league title ahead of rivals Ghana Police.

However, after three games, the tax collectors have yet to convince that they are worthy to hold on to the title. Two draws and an unimpressive 1-0 against USIU Spartans leaves them second in the table with five points.

Egyptian clubs running the show in men's competition

Defending champions Sharkia and Eastern Company from Egypt have as expected, stamped their authority in the men's competition.

After three rounds, Eastern Company are perched at the top with nine points, two ahead of their compatriots. The two are tipped to once again contest Saturday's final barring a calamity. The rest of the sides can only try and play catch up.

Out of the last 29 editions held, Egyptian clubs have won 28 of those - a worrying statistic to the rest of the sides.

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