Egypt, Kenya win men, women Africa hockey championship
Players of Team Delta to the Africa Cup for Club Champion Hockey Championship have dismissed lack of incentives as cause for their woeful performance at the Africa Cup for Club Champions Hockey Championship won by El-Sharkia of Egypt and Telecom from Kenya in the men and women respectively at the Hockey Complex in Package B of Abuja National Stadium at the weekend.
El-Sharkia defeated GRA of Ghana 3-1 to hold on to the men’s title while Telkom from Kenya defeated their Ghanaian counterpart for the women’s crown.
In the men’s category, Egypt paraded El-Sharkia and Eastern Co, Ghana had GRA and Exchequers while hosts Nigeria had Niger Flickers and Kada Stars. For the female category, Ghana had GRA and Ghana Police and Kenya sent Telkom and USIU teams while Nigeria Delta and Kada Queens failed to flick, as they made up the number of participants. And they were pounded round in the continental championship.
The Delta Queens players told The Guardian that their inability to flick went beyond lack of incentives, as they fingered inadequate preparations and called for the State Hockey Association to return to the drawing board.
Though some of the players admitted that they were properly motivated for the recently held 19th National Sports Festival without winning the gold medal, argued that their preparations were faulty.
“Yes, we were adequate motivated for the festival compared to this continental championship, and there were no good result. There is the need for the State Hockey Association to return to the drawing board,” some of the players volunteered.
Coach Adeoye Jacob of Team Delta believes the team would have achieved the desired result if there was adequate preparation. “You cannot approve just 10 days of camping and expect good result,” coach Adeoye Jacob said.
He pointed out that the problem started when they were to start their preparation for the festival. “I had proposed to take the players to Abuja where we can train on the astro turf, as we were going to participate in the African Cup for Club Champions Hockey Championship just after the Festival.
“Instead, we were directed to go to Warri where the synthetic turf is no different from sand dunes. And just two days in camp, I was asked to submit the team list for both the festival and continental championship. There was practically no enough training within these two days, but with the calibre of players that I have assembled, I was able to comply. Again in Abuja, we were domesticated at the University of Abuja for the festival and on Friday, December 13, we left the Festival camp for Abuja Stadium where all the players kept vigil till Saturday morning for our first match against USIU of Kenya. The players were completely fagged out, as a result of the trauma they had gone through”, Jacob stated.
He was however emphatic when he said his players would have been able to hold sway should they have had good rest and accommodation.
“Imagine the players were squatting at the stadium, as there was no provision for decent accommodation, and were living on N1000 per day instead of $35. There are lots to be done to develop our hockey,” he added.