A former national hockey star, Mr Kwame Owusu, has observed that the high cost of equipment, unfavourable academic calendar and lack of facilities are militating against the growth of hockey in the country.
“Hockey is not growing at a faster pace because it is considered an elitist game. This is because the amount of investment needed before one could actively play the game is far higher than football which is a street game,” Mr Owusu, aka Kowus, explained in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic.
.”The equipment needed to propel you to play hockey is very costly, especially in our part of the world where the economy is not growing at a pace which makes it possible to take care of lesser sports. Until something dramatic happens, many of these lesser sports may die off, “ Mr Owusu bemoaned.
“Regarding football, all you need is a round and flexible object on a small pitch. You can play it at the backyard, compound and even on the lonely street without any coach and once you can exhibit your skills, you are ready to play. But with hockey, you don’t only need the standard ball but you also need a stick and how to handle it proficiently.
“Football doesn’t need a coach at the basic level because even toddlers can play it without a coach but the same does not apply to hockey because handling the stick very well is a skill one needs to learn more meaningfully and without doing so, you will hit the ball with the wrong side of the stick to affect play,” he added.
On how the current academic calender had undermined the development of hockey, Mr Owusu, who was a skipper of the junior national hockey team in 1982 and also played actively for Accra-based Citizens International Hockey Club, noted that, “many of the lesser known sports are being smothered at the second cycle level due to the new education system and academic calendar introduced by the Ghana Education Service.”
He explained that; “during our time, we had the opportunity to develop our skills in various sports disciplines because we stayed in the boarding house for seven years.
The three-year period for the present generation is insufficient to sports promotion because it is difficult to combine academics with sports development.
“You need to be a genius to combine academic work with sports, hence the gradual killing of lesser-known sports in Ghana,” he noted.