South Africa withdraw hockey teams from African Games due to poor pitch

South Africa’s hockey teams have withdrawn from the hockey competition at the 2023 African Games. 

Citing concerns over the poor condition of the pitch at the Theodosia Okoh Stadium in Accra, the teams have opted to prioritize the safety and well-being of their players.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the preparation efforts and fearing potential long-term injuries for their players, both the male and female teams have pulled out of the competition. 

This decision comes as they gear up for the Olympics and cannot afford to risk their athletes’ health on substandard facilities.

Sports Minister Mustapha Ussif has acknowledged the concerns raised by the South African teams and has assured that efforts are underway to rectify the situation. 

Despite assurances that the hockey facility will meet required standards, these efforts have not been enough to convince the South African teams to reconsider their withdrawal.

The preparation of the hockey pitch faced delays, with disagreements between the hockey federation and the contractor over the choice of turf. While efforts are being made to resolve these issues, they have not met the expectations of the South African teams, renowned for their prowess in hockey.

In the ongoing competition, Egypt secured a victory against Nigeria in the men’s competition with a score of 5-4. 

Other intriguing fixtures are set to follow, including Ghana’s female side facing Nigeria and the male side taking on Kenya later on Monday.

The withdrawal of South Africa’s hockey teams serves as a reminder of the importance of adequate preparation and facilities in international sporting events, emphasizing the need for all stakeholders to prioritize the safety and well-being of athletes.

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