Sikh Union Club Nairobi 1970.



Sikhs in Hockey in Kenya

Sikhs have been living in Kenya well before the Uganda Railway line reached Nairobi in 1896. 

The Kenya Asian Sports Association, which was founded on 4 August 1912, organised sport in the country and records show that Sikhs have been playing hockey in Kenya since the early 1920s. 

The visits of hockey teams from South Africa in 1937 and from India in 1947 brought to a head the need for a central governing body to look after and regulate the affairs of hockey throughout the Colony and resulted in the formation of the Kenya Hockey Union in Nairobi on the 2nd June, 1949.  

Sir Godfrey Rhodes was elected as its first Chairman and Mahan Singh as Secretary.Kenya's first official international match was played against India in 1951, which was won by India 6 goals to 2.

During their tour of 1947 India played against Mombasa Combined at Mombasa, Asian Sports Association at Nairobi, Kenya Hockey Association at Nairobi, Nairobi Combined at Nairobi, Asian Combined at Nakuru,  European Combined at Nakuru,  Kisumu Combined at Kisumu, Eldoret Combined at Eldoret and Kitale Combined at Kitale.

Mahan Singh, who was the President of the Asian Sports Association of East Africa, and who was responsible for arranging India's visit to Kenya in 1947, was elected President of the Kenya Hockey Union in 1957.

 The backbone of the Kenya National Team has been the Sikh Union Club Nairobi. The Club which started as Khalsa Union in 1920 and became Sikh Union in 1926 fielded majority of players in the National team and won most of the domestic trophies in 1950s, 60s and 70s.   

Sikhs have represented Kenya at Olympic Games, World Cups, East African Championships and Africa Cup of Nations.

Sikhs have been Managers, Coaches, Umpires and Captains of the National team.  On the administrative front, Sikhs have played an active part running the national hockey and have been part of the Continental and International hockey Federation.  

Surjeet Singh Deol (senior) captained the Kenya team to her first ever Olympic participation in Melbourne 1956. The team which was coached by Mahan Singh included eight Sikh players. He was succeeded by Avtar Singh Sohal who represented Kenya at four Olympic Games and captained three of them. Sikhs have been part of every Kenya Olympic Hockey Team since then.

Hardial Singh Kular rose to become a Vice President of International Hockey Federation and President of African Hockey Federation.

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