Prime News Ghana

2023 African Games: South Africa withdraws from Hockey competition over poor pitch

By Vincent Ashitey
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South Africa’s men's and women’s hockey teams have both pulled out of the ongoing 2023 African Games.

This, according to the South African contingent, is due to the sub standard pitch at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium that was laid only a few days ago prior to the start of the competition.

Team South Africa reportedly isn’t comfortable with the pitch for its 2024 Olympics Bound athletes. The contingent is reportedly also not happy about the overall organization of the Hockey competition.

"In correspondence sent to the LOC, Team SA team leader Ms. Patience Shikwambana states: “Over and above making this decision, our SA Hockey Federation consulted with Sports Flooring Warehouse, a South African-based specialist in carpet laying, and an FIH recognised service provider. They have also advised us – having analysed the images we shared with them – that the field is not satisfactory and may cause harm to the athletes.”

Ms. Shikwambana also noted: “The rescheduling of the hockey competition, on three numerous occasions has, in addition, caused an inconvenience to us logistically, as a team, where we had to arrange for both the teams to fly to Ghana in time for the commencement of the competition.

“In the first Chef De Missions’ site visit meeting at the end of October 2023, we were advised that there would be test events to ensure readiness of venues before the start of each competition. This, unfortunately, has not been the case for Hockey. In addition, according to the FIH field certification guideline, ‘If a field that is not certified is being considered as a tournament venue, it should be tested at the earliest convenience to demonstrate compliance with this specification’.

“These tests should be conducted months in advance before a competition – which, in this case, have not taken place. Furthermore, ‘The FIH has a number of accredited test institutes, and these have accredited engineers located around the world’, which we are not certain if they have been involved and provided the necessary certification.’

Earlier today, Egypt beat Nigeria 5-4 in the Men’s Competition and Ghana is set to play Nigeria in the Women’s Division at 2pm.