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South Africa withdraws from hockey competition over sub-standard pitch

South Africa’s men’s and women’s hockey teams say they will not take part in the ongoing 13th African Games due to the ‘unsuitability’ of the Theodosia Okoh Hockey pitch in Accra.

According to the South Africans, the venue was not sufficiently prepared to stage the competition based on recommendations and guidelines set down by the International Hockey Federation.

The South African hockey team has sent a correspondence to the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and African Hockey Federation over their decision to withdraw despite assurances that the pitches would meet international-standard competition.

Excerpts of the correspondence sent to the LOC by SA team leader Madam Patience Shikwambana said, ‘Over and above making this decision, our SA Hockey Federation consulted with Sports Flooring Warehouse, a South African-based specialist in carpet laying, and an FIH recognised service provider.

‘They have also advised us – having analysed the images we shared with them – that the field is not satisfactory and m
ay cause harm to the athletes.’

It added: ‘The rescheduling of the hockey competition, on three numerous occasions has, in addition, caused an inconvenience to us logistically, as a team, where we had to arrange for both teams to fly to Ghana in time for the commencement of the competition.’

Team SA claimed that they had assurance that there would be test events to assess the readiness of the hockey pitch, but these tests didn’t happen, which does not meet the FIH field certification guidelines.

Despite, South Africa’s withdrawal, the hockey competition is still ongoing, with countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, and hosts Ghana partaking in it.

Our coverage of the 13th African Games is brought to you by Bethel Logistics Co. Ltd. Bethel Logistics, Experts in Shipping Logistics.

Source: Ghana News Agency