Team Kenya will be seeking to deny South Africa an eleventh straight victory as the All Africa Golf Team Championship tees off tomorrow in Egypt. The stars seem aligned for the Kenya foursome of Captain Dennis Maara, Adel Balala, Mike Karanga and John Lejirma as South Africa has entered a relatively inexperienced team for the biennial 72-hole stroke play event taking place at the El Gouna Golf course in Hurghada, Egypt.
Despite boasting of three players in the top 50 list of the World Golf Ranking, Team South Africa will be captained by world no. 95 Jonothan Broomhead who leads the team of Werner Deyzel (433), Simon du Plooy (651) and Jordan Wessels (888).
Based on world rankings, Team Kenya should fancy her chances with Balala the highest ranked player at no. 194 ahead of compatriots Karanga (223), Lejirma (399) and Maara (688).
“South Africa has so much talent so if we manage to come second ahead of teams like Morocco and Egypt that will be a good result. We didn’t do much on the technical side of the game in our preparations due to a few limitations so much focus was just on getting the players sharper more so on the short game aspects,” said John Van Liefland, Team Kenya Coach.
Arguably the most experienced amateur team the country has assembled in a long time, Team Kenya is brimming with confidence after winning the East Africa Region IV and Victoria Cup in flawless displays.
“The two international wins have given us very good momentum. Though we know that dethroning South Africa is tough, I assure you this team is going to fight, all the way” said Maara.
Team Kenya arrived in Egypt two days before the tournament to familiarize with the long-playing 6,269m championship course. Said Balala: “High temperatures will be a real challenge for us plus the strong winds which will definitely test our ability to adjust our shots accordingly.”
South Africa has won all the events since the championship was launched in 2001 save for 2009. Teams expected at the four-day event include Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Each country will be represented by four players with the best three scores counting towards the team total in each round.