The 9th edition of the African Hockey Tournament will take off this Friday, the same day President Barrack Obama will arrive in the country.
The stadium, as at the time of going to press yesterday, was being inaugurated for the tournament to commence. The 1,100 capacity world-class edifice was constructed by Italian contractors, Michelleti, who also re-constructed the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium.
Four countries, out of the original seven, have confirmed their participation in the eight days event. Hosts Ghana, Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria would battle each other for the ultimate ticket for next February’s Hockey World Cup in India. Ghana’s Black Sticks will begin their campaign to be crowned Men’s Hockey Champions with a potentially explosive match against South Africa. The evening fixture, which will start at 7pm prompt on Friday July 10, will be game number two, after another tough encounter between Egypt and Nigeria at 5pm.
The Egyptians arrived in Accra last Saturday with full vigor of winning the title once again. The team included eight of the players who lost to South Africa in the last two finals in Pretoria, South Africa. They are however without their influential center-back, Amro Abdul-Fatah, who recently retired from international competition to concentrate on club hockey in Italy. In a related development, the female and male hockey teams of Nigeria would arrive today from their respective bases.
They are expected to train on the new astro turf in order to get used to the new playing field. Meanwhile, Kenya has joined Namibia and Zimbabwe to pull out of the hockey tournament. The Kenyan’s cited financial difficulties as the main reason for pulling out of the competition even though the Local Organizing Committee offered to meet them halfway with accommodation and other logistics.
Source: Daily Guide
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