Blacksticks……the way forward.
Report by Kingsley Boakye
Ghana’s male hockey team, The Blacksticks, placed 6th at the just ended 2016-17 Men’s FIH Hockey World League Round 2 held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as they represented the country for the first time in this round since its conception in 2012.
Ghana’s aim to find themselves in the third round got shuttered when they were defeated by close rivals, Oman, in the quarter finals by 4 goals to 3.
Even though the team lost to host nation, Bangladesh, in the 5th & 6th place match, some coaches and individuals have expressed their thoughts on Ghana’s performance.
Here are some of the comments we gathered:
“I think they have done their best considering the Preparation they had which was full of issues with money and logistical problems…. They have done their best under the circumstances’’. Paul Adimah – Umpire
“Looking at the stats. of Blacksticks, you could say their defending prowess lives much to be desired, their focus was on scoring at the peril of their defense organization. They also faced novelty situations which revealed some sort of nativity (especially confidence). Because of lack of high performance matches they also suffered muscle fatigue (muscle endurance). I will commend them for quick adjustment and keeping afloat. I recommend that we look for money to enable our teams to engage in more international friendly games (High performance games), a necessity”. Mr. Nyarko – UCC Coach
“Good experience and exposure. This should be the turnaround for Ghana Hockey, after throwing away our advantages in regulation time and the shoot out the boys still deserve some applause. Perseverance is important from now on”. Mr. Wilson – Winneaba
“Overall, good. Lack of experience, the first time to the next level with lack of international competitions. We neeed to look at our defense strategy and our defensive players, the most serious area is goal keeping”. Mr. Oti Mensah – Technical Director HWLR2, BANGLADESH.
As we reflect on the performance of the Blacksticks, let’s recap their statistical performance in Bangladesh after all 6 games were played.
- Goals scored 24
Goals conceded 17
- Team with the Highest goal scorer – Johnny Botsio (13 goals – 11 penalty corner (PC) and 2 field goals (FG))
- Team with most cards shown – 10 players (12 cards)
These statistics, on the first time appearance approach, looks good but there’s still more room for improvement. The team’s ability to make an impact in AFCON 2017, would be crucial and would require extra effort from both management and players.
Ghana hockey association (GHA) would have to note some of these points and consider them when preparing towards tournaments of such nature.
- Marketing agencies should be included in the marketing & branding of the sport to create more corporate awareness. This in the long run would :
- Increase its publicity
- Create more corporate awareness for more sponsorship
- Increase the level of knowledge about the sport for more sponsorship.
- Our preparations (sponsorship and teams training) for tournaments like this, should be adequate enough to help build the team as this helps reduce pressure on player performance. If the team is secured with the requisite logistics on time and more international friendlies, managers would put the team in proper shape for the best outcome.
Come September 2017, Johannesburg, South Africa would host the 2017 African Cup of Nations. We would suggest we start preparations now than later. This would help correct the mistakes we’ve learnt from world league round 1 & 2 so as to build a better team.
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