Six countries are expected to troop into Bulawayo next week for the 2012 London Olympics African Hockey qualifiers to be held at Khumalo Hockey Stadium from September 2-11.
Hockey Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) president Kays Kanyangarara yesterday told NewsDay Sport that national teams from South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Morocco would be in the city for the games on August 30 and 31.
Zimbabwe is taking part in the qualifiers in which Namibia and Nigeria pulled out.
Kanyangarara said Nigeria pulled out last week.
“We will have Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana coming in from August 30 and 31 for the games. Namibia and Nigeria pulled out of the qualifiers. All the countries except for Egypt will be bringing in men and ladies’ teams. Egypt will only be bringing a men’s team,” Kanyangarara said.
The Haz president said the local organising committee (LOC) of the qualifiers, which is chaired by Gavin Stephens, was making final touches to the preparations for the games.
“The local organising committee is putting finishing touches in terms of preparations for the games which start on September 2. Our own team has been meeting and on Sunday, the men’s team was at Khumalo Hockey Stadium. Next week they will also be assembling full strength teams for the games,” Kanyangarara said.
He said that he hoped that Khumalo Hockey Stadium will be ready by the end of the week to host the games.
A Dutch company, Edelgrass won the tender to install a new turf at the facility and they have been busy together with local contractors face lifting the stadium for the games.
“It is a big event that we are hosting and to some extent most of the complex work at the stadium has been done. I am hoping all will be complete by the end of the week,” Kanyangarara said.
He said the local hockey association awaits fixtures for the games from the African Hockey Federation who also seek approval of the programme from the International Hockey Federation.
Hockey has not been included on the 2011 All-Africa Games competition due in Mozambique from September 3-18 because that country does not have the facilities for the sport.
Kanyangara urged Bulawayo hockey fans to come in their numbers to support the Zimbabwean national teams which are coached by Bill Birkett and Anton Five.