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06.10.2005 Hockey

Hockey chairman not happy

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Pretoria, Oct. 6, GNA - The male hockey team may have salvaged the little image left for Ghana with a 5-0 drubbing of whipping boys Namibia on Wednesday, but the Chairman of the Ghana Hockey Association, Mr Oko Nikoi Dzani is not the least amused.

Strangely, instead of being excited about the win following dismal performances in the first two matches, the chairman was fuming after the game for the inability of the players to take their chances. His particular worry was the fact that the team was unable to convert close to 20 penalty corners it had, a problem, which persists in both the male and female teams.

Mr Dzani, prior to the commencement of the weeklong tournament, had told GNA Sports that he was expecting a good showing to use as a basis to force sports authorities to provide a water-based astro turf. The bane of the sport has been the lack of water-based astro turf, which is the only acceptable turf used at international competitions. However, due to lack of funds and interest, Ghana has been compelled to be content with the sand-based turf.

"Once we are able to archive something good with our poor facility, it would be enough justification to demand the right facilities from government, and then, the sky would be the limit", Mr Dzani told the GNA Sports in Pretoria.

He is hoping that the male team would overpower Nigeria in Saturday's third place play-off while praying that the ladies will be able to win at least bronze, to justify the request.

Even the sole sand-based astro turf in Accra, constructed with the support of the International Hockey Federation, the International Olympic Committee and some local financial institutions in 1999, is in a deplorable state due to the enormous pressure on it. Since it is the only astro turf the nation has, all the teams in the capital train on it.

Mr Dzani told the GNA Sports that if all goes well, two of the modern pitches should be in Accra, one in Kumasi to cater for the northern sector, one each in Cape Coast, Takoradi and Ho to cater for those in Central, Western and Volta Regions. Wednesday's results jumped Ghana from the fourth to the third position behind Egypt and South Africa while the ladies are second behind South Africa with two draws.

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