Zimbabwe fails to send hockey teams for Afcon

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THE HOCKEY Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) will not send the national men and women’s teams for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) to be hosted by Kenya from September 26 to October 5.

FORTUNE MBELE

This was revealed by Haz vice-president Humphrey Chigwedere on the sidelines of the association’s end-of-season club tournament held at Khumalo Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

Chigwedere said the association failed to raise $120 000 for travel and logistics to the East African country.

“We did not register for Afcon to be hosted by Kenya in a few weeks as we failed to raise $120 000 that was required for the trip. We looked at ourselves and said we could not afford and we did not register.
“If we had registered and failed to travel, we would have risked facing hefty fines from the African Hockey Federation. It is very sad and the concern was raised at the annual general meeting on Friday evening,” Chigwedere said.

Despite failure to travel to Kenya, Zimbabwe has a chance to host the Hockey World Series next year in September on condition Haz refurbishes Magamba Hockey Stadium in Harare.

“The International Hockey Federation has given us the green light to host the World Series from September 14-20 next year on condition that we repair Magamba Hockey Stadium.

“This is the condition that we have been given and as an association and what we are doing is to wait for the appointment of the Sports minister so that we could lobby for the refurbishment of the facility to the status of Khumalo Hockey Stadium,” Chigwedere said.

He said it was noted 2013 had seen a rise in hockey being played in the country and an increase in the number of players.

The assembly on Friday acknowledged that media coverage of the sport had vastly improved.

Chigwedere, however, said the association’s quest was to encourage more women to take up the sport.

He said the association was also looking at spreading hockey to all the provinces in the country. Bulawayo, Harare, Masvingo and Mashonaland Central are the only provinces that were active in the sport.

The AGM also acknowledged the visit by Netherlands coach Gijs Hardemane who was recently in the country and held a high performance hockey coaching course for local coaches in Harare.