Ghana will host three other African countries in the first round of the World Hockey League (HWL) from September 9-11 at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey stadium in Accra.
The League, one of the many qualifiers that nations use in qualifying for the World Cup and also for points build-up for ranking purposes, will this year have Ghana play host to Nigeria, Kenya and Namibia in both male and female categories.
Winners of the tournament would progress to the second round of the HWL which would be played in February 2017 in Valencia, Spain for the female category while the male category would be played in Bangladesh.
At the launch of the tournament yesterday at the media center of the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium, Minister of Youth and Sports, Nii Lante Vanderpuye was excited at the opportunity for Ghana to host a league of this magnitude and pledged government’s fullest support to make it a success.
He noted that hockey in Ghana has been transformed but the lack of infrastructure has proved to be its bane but believes the time has come for that to change, adding that his outfit was ready to offer tax incentives to sponsors that wish to support sports development in the country.
He announced that he was in talks with the India government through the India High Commission and the Cuban government for the development of a water based astro turf as well as offer technical assistance in terms of holding exchange programmes for coaches in Ghana and in India as well.
As part of plans to prepare Ghana for the next Olympics, the Ministry, he said, would critically study the report of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) and look at diversifying interest as far as sports promotion was concern.
President of the Ghana Hockey Association (GHA), Mr. Richard Akpokavi said one of the many goals for hosting the tournament is to qualify for the second round of the HWL.
Also the GHA believes the hosting of the tournament would give Ghanaians the opportunity to see world class hockey and for others to see the facilities the country has and how the country can build upon them, he noted.
In achieving that, Ghana must win the upcoming World Hockey League 1 and move on to the second round.
Madam Elizabeth King, an Executive Member of the GHA took the opportunity to call on corporate Ghana to come on board to help the association host a successful tournament and to push Ghana hockey onto the Africa and world maps.
By Raymond Ackumey