The President of the Ghana Hockey Association (GHA) Mr Richard Akakpovie has expressed concern about the perennial neglect of the sport by the state, saying lack of government’s funding and logistics last year denied the national hockey teams opportunity to qualify for the Rio Olympics Games
“Had the government provided the requisite financial support, hockey would have salvaged the image of Ghana so far as intenerational tournaments were concerned,” he told the Daily Graphic in an interview.
Lamenting over the neglect of hockey in terms of funds over the last four years, Mr Akakpovie noted “ last year, our target was to qualify for the Rio Olympics ,but unfortunately, the ladies just missed out, and even though they missed out, they did very well because we had the best player and the best goalkeeper in the tournament in the persons of Nafisatu Maro and Bridget Azumah.”
He said the performance of the players “ was a sign that if we get adequate funding and continue investing in the sport, we will be able to go places.”
He said lack of funds did not only affect their preparations and training programmes but also affected the teams in terms of travelling to South Africa.
“Expressing concern about the situation, he said the association was now indebted to some companies and individuals to the tune of over $60,000 Explaining, he said the companies gave them the money on loan to enable them participate in the tournament.
Commenting on the women’s team in particular, Mr Akakpovie said it was lack of confidence that denied them the ultimate when they met South Africa in the grand finale during the tournament.
“The girls needed to build confidence when we were playing against South Africa. The South African captain for instance was playing her 250th cup, but for us, our captain was only playing her 53rd cup and that tells you the difference in terms of experience and exposure for the teams,” he said.