TWENTY Africa hockey clubs have confirmed taking part in the Africa Cup of Club Championships tournament to be staged at Khumalo Hockey Stadium from Saturday December 1 to December 8, making it the biggest international hockey tournament in Africa this year.
REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE SPORTS REPORTER
Zimbabwe, — hosts — will be providing three teams, one men’s team Hippo and two women’s clubs Hullets and Bulawayo Athletic Club with the other clubs coming from Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia and Malawi.
Defending champions Sharkia from Egypt have confirmed participation to defend the title and face stiff challenge from Ghana’s Golden Sticks, a men’s team.
The North Africans are also providing a women’s team, Sadat Youth Women, with the Ghanaians bringing Trustees, Customs Ladies and Reformers Ladies.
Kenya has two men’s teams, Kenya Police and Strathmore University, while two women’s teams, Telkom Orange and Strathmore will also be travelling.
From Nigeria there are two men’s teams, Niger Flickers and Yobe Warriors and they also feature two women’s clubs, Heartland Queens and Bayelsa Queens.
Zambia is bringing one men’s club Tigers, while Malawi will be travelling with two men’s teams, Genetrix and Scorpions and a women’s outfit from the Genetrix Club.
A statement from Matabeleland Hockey Board reads: “The Hockey Association of Zimbabwe is pleased to advise that preparations for the Africa Cup of Club Champions tournament to be hosted at Bulawayo’s Khumalo Hockey Stadium are well underway, and another week of superb hockey is on the cards. The tournament will run from 1st to 8th December 2012. Twelve men’s and eight women’s teams have entered, making this the largest international hockey competition on the continent this year. The teams could not ask for a better facility than the refurbished Khumalo Hockey Stadium, which is regarded as the premier hockey centre in Africa.”
Several players, who took part in the African Olympic Qualifiers in Bulawayo in September last year, will be taking part in their club colours.
The African Hockey Federation said: “The tournament director will be Joy Pieterson of South Africa and the umpires manager will be Nashon Randiek of Kenya. They will be assisted by a panel of officials who will be led by technical officials Frank Oti-Mensah of Ghana and Colleen Nativel of Zimbabwe.”