Hockey: Salya Nsalbini and Elikem Akaba rescind decision to quit national team

BY: George Ernest Asare
Skipper Salya Nsalbini

Skipper Salya Nsalbini and his deputy, Elikem Akaba, have rescinded their decision to quit the national hockey team after almost two years of announcing their retirement.

Speaking to Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview, Nsalbini said after a sober reflection, he and his deputy decided to rejoin their colleagues to fight for honours at the international level.

“We want to continue playing for the nation because if we quit now, we are not giving opportunity to the youth who are looking up to us as their mentors.

“Quitting now will also deny them the opportunity to learn the rudiments of the game from us as they strive to fill the vacuum we will create in future,” Nsalbini explained when he visited the Daily Graphic offices in Accra.

The skipper and his deputy announced their retirement from the national team in August 2019 after clinching a bronze medal during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games Africa qualifier  in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

South Africa, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Namibia were the other participating teams of the event which was won by the host team.

He, however, called on corporate bodies, the Youth and Sports Ministry and philanthropists to invest in hockey to motivate the players to excel in international tournaments.

“The government has much to do to lift hockey from its present deplorable state to a level it deserves so that we can market the nation at international tournaments.

“We have a lot of potential in the youth and given the opportunity, hockey will be the game to market the country so much,” he noted.
“Companies, banks and individuals should also sponsor hockey as part of their social responsibility.

This is because in sponsoring hockey, they are giving the youth something to fall on to build a blossoming career that will improve their standard of living,” he stressed.