We will qualify for Round 2 – Richard Akpokavie
Ghana Hockey Association (GHA) yesterday at the Theodosia Oko Hockey Pitch conference room, outdoored the much anticipated World Hockey League R1 to the press and the general public.
According to the chairman of the Association, Lawyer Richard Akpokavie, the goal of hosting this tournament is to showcase world class hockey to the general public, thereby, attracting more individual stakeholders to support the game. He also pointed out that, some long term structures put in place to promote the game of hockey in Ghana is to build astro turf pitches in all tertiary institutions. This said, would help nurture young talents and also promote the sport to another level.
Also Madam Elizabeth King, co-chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the tournament highlighted, the delay of this launch was as a result of the few sponsors. She noted that with a budget of over GHC100,000, only GHC 50,000 had been raised with only 9 more days to kick start the tournament. She used the opportunity to welcome all form of sponsorship from the general public and corporate bodies. She pleaded with the media to champion and campaign for the World Hockey league to be recognised by all Ghanaians so that they can give their moral support.
The launch was also honoured by the Minister of Youth and Sport – Honourable Nii Lante Vanderpuye, who was pleased to be called upon to chair such an occasion.
He said “I am excited that Ghana has been given the privilege to host an exemplary tournament. Reading from the literature on hockey, the FIH uses such tournaments to make hockey as attractive as football”. He noted that the “less financed sports”, like hockey, should be given some level of attention by the media and the general public and expressed his gratitude towards the good works of the association.
The Minister also thanked the sponsors of the tournaments and echoed that the government will give the necessary tax incentives to all corporate bodies who do same for other sporting activities.
According to the minister’s plan to promote the sport in Ghana, he said “I have established a relationship with the Indian government through the Indian High Commission for the development of a water based astro turf and they are ready to not only building the turf, but also provide technical assistance for our coaches through courses and also bring people here to help build field hockey”.
The Minister also promised that, under the phase two of the Cape Coast Stadium, two hockey pitches would be built, one for training and one for matches, with a 200 hotel facility, swimming pool and an indoor gymnasium.
In line with an earlier comment made by the chairman of GHA, the minister affirmed that the development of hockey should have it grass roots from the tertiary institutions. He made this comment in reference to the educational and sports calendar of the ministry saying, attention should be given to our sport men and women when they are in the tertiary institutions because most of them spend more time there than in the basic level.
According to the Minister, the government would rally behind the male and female national team to qualify for the Round 2 in Bangladesh and Spain respectively next year.
Finishing his speech, the minister reiterated a wise quote from Asantehene Otumfuor Osei Tutu II, saying “ if we would give a little bit of concentration to the other sports, Ghana would be better”.
The male and female captains introduced to the general public the official squad of the black sticks before the launch ended.
The official sponsors of the 2016 World Hockey League R1 are Vodafone, Accra Brewers Limited and Mohinani Group – Esan Loco.
The tournament starts September 9 -11th at the Theodosia Oko Hockey Pitch, Accra with 4 countries, namely Ghana (Host nation), Kenya, Namibia and Nigeria, participating. Only one team qualifies from this round to the next which is deemed to be played in March 2017. This winner joins South Africa, Egypt and Canada in Bangladesh for Round 2.
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