Africa Hockey President appeals for more participation

By elvince joshua
Nov 18, 2013
  • The Kenya women's team sings the national anthem before the start of the ir match against South Africa.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

Seif Ahmed, the Africa Hockey Federation AfHF president believes the absence of other African nations in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations Hockey tournament in Nairobi will not affect the rankings of top teams in Africa.

Ahmed, speaking exclusively to Sportsnewsarena.com on day one of the tournament said, for the game to grow, more caution needs to be taken to narrow the gap between top and lowly ranked teams in Africa.

"The gap between top teams and those below is very big and I want to encourage African countries to take part in these tournaments to help bridge the widening gap. More participation is one way to help grow hockey standards," said Ahmed who gave example of Tanzania who lost 18-0 to Ghana. This is the first time Tanzania is participating in World Cup qualifiers.

"All in all, I don’t believe the absence of those teams here (in Nairobi) will have any bearing on seeding because we have the best here," Ahmed who confirmed that only top teams in each category, men and women will progress to the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands however defended the decision by Africa Hockey not to award winning teams prize money saying that, "Hockey is not cricket, rugby, athletics or football, even national associations, including International Hockey Federation (FIH) are struggling for money."

The winners, apart from grabbing the continental bragging right will also qualify to next year's World Cup. Ahmed added: "We can have the prize money if sponsors come on board" The AfHF President however gave free hints to any African nation dreaming of hosting future World Cup saying:

"Its is possible African country can host the World Cup but they must provide good bids, have at least two standard pitches, standard hotels and a big crowd. Organizing a World Cup is not easy though," advices Ahmed.

The games run until November 24.