Coach Van Liefland reveals secret to Kenya’s EA Challenge success

Good pairing and short game training enabled Kenya clinch the 2017 East Africa Challenge Cup golf championship at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana at the weekend.

Kenya coach John van Liefland said the three and half and four points in the foursomes and four ball better ball format was a major boost for Kenya’s victory.

Speaking at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on arrival from Dar es Salaam, Liefland expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance in the Challenge Cup as well as the Victoria Cup in Uganda last month.

“I am very happy our training programme for short game as well as pairing has started paying off. I have been trying over the past three months to make sure that the boys play as a team,” said the national coach.

He said he did not believe in a permanent pair on the players.

“Every player must be able to pair with any other and I am happy the boys have been able to do it.”

Liefland said he would be more than happy to take Kenya to the level of South Africa finances permitting.

“We have very good players capable of beating any team in Africa but there is need to double the training programme.”

He said this would be possible with more financial support from corporate organizations as well as the government.

He said he will use a familiar programme of previous performance in training and championship, and ranking for the forthcoming all Africa Championship in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe in October.

“We only lost only two matches and halved three out of 24 which is a tremendous achievement for the players.”

His sentiments were echoed by team captain Alfred Nandwa who won all his matches despite having received news of his wife’s hospitalisation back home on the day the team arrived in Dar es Salaam.

Kenya Golf Union (KGU) chairman Richard Wanjalla appealed for financial support to the union saying it was becoming increasingly difficult to send a team even to a small event like the East Africa Challenge.

“Kenya has been chosen to host next year’s tournament which will require spending even more money and I would like therefore to take this early opportunity to appeal to the government and corporate bodies to come out and assist the union to host a decent championship in 2018,” said the KGU boss.

Kenya collected a total of 19 points in the four rounds, to beat hosts Tanzania by two points. Over the past four years, Uganda, has been dominating the event, winning in 2014, 2015 and tying with Kenya in 2016. This year’s victory is the 13th for Kenya since the East Africa Challenge Cup was started in 1999.

Wanjalla said Kenya will try and invite more countries in next year’s championship whose venue is yet to be decided.

Kenya last won the title in 2013 at the Great Rift Valley resort in Naivasha.

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