After a two week residential camping at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana’s male and female national hockey teams will fly to Egypt today for the African Cup of Nations tournament which kicks starts on Thursday.
A total of 36 players comprising of 18 males and 18 females were selected to represent Ghana in the tournament.
The early departure, according to the Ghana Hockey Association (GHA) President, Mr Richard Apokavie, is to enable the teams to acclimatize and prepare very well before the tournament kicked off.
Besides the host nation Egypt, Ghana will compete against defending champions South Africa as well as Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia for the ultimate.
The winner also gains automatic qualification to represent Africa in the 2018 World Hockey Cup tournament being hosted by India.
Speaking to Graphic Sports, Mr Apokavie said in spite of the numerous challenges encountered in the teams’ preparations, they were fired up to do their best.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports is only providing us tickets for 20 players each for both males and females, team officials, coaches, officiating officials, medical and supporting staff have to look for own sponsorship for tickets , accommodation and meals.
“We also have to seek for sponsorship to pay for per diem for players and their staff, so it has not being easy; he lamented.
He said the GHA would have preferred to camp the teams for a month to enable the technical teams to prepare the players adequately before departing, but lack of financial support denied them that opportunity.
Ghana will have the opportunity to participate in both the 2018 World Hockey Cup and the Commonwealth Games in Australia if they emerge victorious in Egypt.