HomeSportPoor stadia threaten hockey preparations

Poor stadia threaten hockey preparations

Ndamu Sandu

THE state of the hockey stadia is likely to scupper Zimbabwe’s preparations for the Junior Africa Cup of Nations in September, it emerged this week.

na, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The women’s tournament would be in South Africa from September 18-26 while the men’s finals are scheduled to start in Egypt on the same date.

Hockey Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) President Gavin Stephens told IndependentSport this week that preparations could be handicapped as the stadia are in a pathetic condition.

“Preparations for the tournament will be affected as the two hockey stadia Magamba and Khumalo are in a deteriorating condition unsuitable for any match,” he said.

Stephens said the team could not travel outside the country due to foreign currency shortages.

“We cannot travel neither can we invite other countries for friendly matches as the pitches are not in a condition conducive for international matches,” he said.

Government built Magamba and Khumalo hockey stadia for the 6th All Africa Games in 1995 together with the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex.

The facilities have never been given attention and have started to crumble.

Stephens said HAZ’s efforts to secure funds from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) hit a brick wall as there was no financial commitment from government.

FIH officials were in the country in October last year to investigate the feasibility of a proposed scheme.

If government had made a financial commitment FIH would have bailed them out with a US$50 000 grant to repair the two hockey stadia.

“The stadia are property of the government but we will assist them in getting the funding,” he said.

“The Sports and Recreation Commission which oversees all sporting activities should come out and say what they have in store.”

HAZ has hosted international events such as the 6th All Africa Games in 1995, the Women’s World Cup qualifier in 1997, Junior Africa Cup of Nations (men and women) in 1997 and the African Cup of Nations (women) in 1998.

It has also hosted the Africa Cup of Nations (men) in 2000 and the Africa Cup of Club Champions in 1996 and 1999.

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