Theodosia Okoh Hockey stadium
The Theodosia Okoh Hockey pitch is expected to attain certification by October ahead of the U-21 African Hockey tournament.

African hockey chief defends safety of Ghana's pitch 

The President of the African Hockey Federation (AfHF), Seif El Dine Ahmed, has stepped forward to assure the safety of Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium for all participating countries, following the recent withdrawal of South Africa from the 13th African Games amid concerns by South African officials about the safety and readiness of the venue for the competition.


Acknowledging the challenges in venue preparation due to delays by the contractor, Mr Ahmed maintained that after meetings, all participating federations had agreed to proceed with the competition. He expressed gratitude to the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for their dedication to ensuring high-quality hockey in Africa, emphasising the paramount importance of player safety.

South Africa's withdrawal from both the men's and women's hockey teams last Monday highlighted concerns over the readiness of Theodosia Okoh Stadium. The South African Olympic governing body, SASOC, cited the unsuitability of the pitches despite repeated assurances of their readiness for international-standard competition.

Seif Ahmed
Seif El Dine Ahmed (second from left) addressing the media in the presence of officials of the LOC and Ghana Hockey Federation

While acknowledging international certification rules for qualifying events, Mr Ahmed clarified that the African Games hockey competition did not fall under such qualifications.

 He pointed out that among the 25 African countries recognised by the Africa Hockey Federation, only South Africa had a certified pitch. However, he expressed optimism that the Theodosia Okoh Hockey pitch would attain certification by October, coinciding with the U-21 African Hockey tournament.

"We had challenges to finish the turf in time; it was out of our hands at the African Hockey Federation and LOC. I would like to thank the LOC for trying to bring the best of hockey to Africa, and we consider the safety of all players very important," Mr Ahmed said at the press briefing in Accra yesterday to address South Africa's concerns.

"With our experience, we can decide whether it was dangerous to play on the turf or not, and already six matches have been played on the turf with no major issues, and the players are enjoying the matches," he said.

For his part, the Executive Chairman of the LOC, Dr Kweku Ofosu-Asare, commended the remaining five participating countries in the hockey tournament for putting up a decent performance so far in hockey.

"So far, we are progressing and progressing very well in this tournament (African Games). So far, we have had many medals being handed out and we are looking forward to a successful conclusion of the tournament," he said.

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