The International Hockey Federation is set to ban and fine Nigeria after the country failed to send her representatives to compete at the 2019 Africa Olympic qualification tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Nigeria’s male and female senior teams who are ranked 3rd and 4th respectively in Africa failed to make the trip due to lack of fund from the sports ministry.
The Nigeria Hockey team was to be part of the eight-country tournament with countries like Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Ghana, Egypt and Botswana, including host South Africa, who were earlier selected to compete at the African showpiece.
In an interview with brila.net, Players Representative Nigeria Hockey Federation (NHF), Farouk Yohanna, expressed his discontent over Nigeria failure in sending her representatives to the games.
“We are not happy that Team Nigeria will not be participating in the games, because we are going to lose our rankings in Africa both in male and the female categories.”
“It’s going to cost us more now that we didn’t participate it will also affect the countries that will be participating this year and it will be a huge setback for the federation and the players,” he said.
“We have to start again in the next nation’s cup which is not good for Nigeria, and Nigeria will be suspended for two to four years and we are going to pay €8,000 fined “.
According to him Most of the players left the camp demoralized, the board did it best by bringing the players and camped them for six weeks without any money from the ministry.
At the last minute, the sports ministry gave us #10million which was not good enough to sponsor the teams. He concluded.
The qualifiers which started yesterday will run through Sunday 18th August 2019, as it marked the fourth edition of the African qualification tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the winner of the tournament will represent the continent in next year’s Olympics Games.
By Uche Dozie