Ghana 2009 Hockey: Tough test for Black Sticks
Ghana's Black Sticks will begin their campaign to be crowned Men's Hockey Champions with a potentially explosive match against South Africa.
The evening fixture, which will start at 7pm prompt on Saturday July 11, will be game number two after another tough encounter between Egypt and Nigeria at 5pm.
The Egyptians who arrived on Saturday night from Cairo were the first team to touch down for the tournament and will start as one of the favourites but South Africa seem to have peaked just in time for the African Nations Cup in Accra.
The talented side are full of confidence after lifting the 4-Nations Elektrostal Cup in Russia a few weeks ago and boast of a world class team who destroyed Canada 8-1 in the final.
The two-week competition will bring crack hockey nations from across the continent including South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria.
Ghana's Black Sticks would be no pushovers and will be highly motivated by pride and incentives that have boosted team spirit and resolve.
In addition, sound preparations and a vibrant home support should give the team that extra bite and desire to play 100% heart and soul. A major trump card for the Black Sticks would be the suprise element of their game which could catch their more predictable opponents off guard.
The Black Sticks were in Holland for a fortnight preparing for the competition. And according to Osei Boakye, coach of the team, they put finishing touches to their preparations before returning home Ghana for the big take-off.
Meanwhile the National Hockey Pitch which has been elevated into an international stadium will be officially commissioned on Monday July 6 by His Excellency President Mills after the completion of work on the 1,200 capacity stadium.
Abuga Pele, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) said the country was committed to hosting the tournament, hence the construction of the world-class stadium.
Activity at the Hockey LOC has shifted into overdrive as officials and volunteers work round the clock ahead of the opening ceremony on Friday. A number of activities have also been designed to ensure the successful hosting of this tournament including a juniors' match followed by the seniors to test the state of the art water based pitch.
The CEO of Ghana 2009 African Cup of Nations Mr. Magnus Rex Danquah added that the set target was to ensure that the country hosts a tournament that would leave a lasting legacy. In a related development the deadline for media accreditation has been extended to Monday July 6, 2009.
FULL FIXTURES: GHANA 2009 HOCKEY AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS (4 TEAMS - Male & Female)
FRIDAY 10TH July 2009
01 1700hrs Egypt v Nigeria (m)
02 1900hrs S. Africa v Ghana (m)
SATURDAY 11TH July 2009
03 1700hrs S. Africa v Nigeria (w)
04 1900hrs Ghana v Egypt (w)
SUNDAY 12TH July 2009
05 1400hrs Egypt v S. Africa (m)
06 1600hrs Ghana v Nigeria (m)
07 1800hrs Nigeria v Egypt (w)
08 2000hrs Ghana v S. Africa (w)
MONDAY 13th July 2009 REST DAY
TUESDAY 14th July 2009
09 1700hrs Nigeria v S Africa (m)
10 1900hrs Ghana v Egypt (m)
WEDNESDAY 15th July 2009
11 1700hrs Egypt v S. Africa (w)
12 1900hrs Ghana v Nigeria (w)
THURSDAY 16th July 2009 REST DAY
FRIDAY 17th July 2009
13 1700hrs 3 v 4 (w)
14 1930hrs 3 v 4 (m)
SATURDAY 18th July 2009
15 1600hrs 1 v 2 (w)
16 1830hrs 1 v 2 (m)