Theodosia Okoh hockey pitch safe for players – African Hockey President

Mr Seif El Dine Ahmed, President of the African Hockey Federation, says the Theodosia Okoh Hockey pitch is safe for participating countries for the 13th African Games being staged in Accra, Ghana.

South Africa withdrew from the hockey tournament at the ongoing African Games citing the unreadiness of the Theodosia Okoh hockey pitch.

According to South African Hockey officials, the pitch was unsuitable for international-standard competition, as they were compelled to pull out following advice from carpet-laying experts that the pitch could cause harm to their athletes.

Addressing the media in Accra, over South Africa’s withdrawal from the hockey competition, Mr. Ahmed admitted that they had challenges getting the venue ready for the competition on time due to delays by the contractor.

He said prior to the start of the hockey competition at the African Games, there were meetings by the participating federations to decide whether to play the games or not.

Mr Ahmed disclosed that all six competing federations
agreed to compete in the hockey event, with the South African hockey officials not raising any concerns about the suitability of the pitch.

‘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.

‘It is true the rules of the Federation of International Hockey say the pitch has to be certified, but that is for a qualifying event, and we all know the African Games hockey competition is not a qualifying tournament.

‘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.

He also noted that in the whole of Africa, it was only South Africa that had international-certified turf, and they are working vigorously as a federation to get more certified hockey turf on t
he continent.

Meanwhile, the hockey competition at the 13th African Games has entered the semi-final stage with Ghana’s men’s and women’s hockey teams in full contention to grab medals.

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