Nigeria Hockey men and women’s team have departed the country for Ismailia, Egypt ahead of the Africa Hockey Cup of Nations from 22-29 October.
The 11th edition of the continental tournament will serve as the 2018 World Cup qualifier with the winners of both men and women’s competition representing Africa in next year’s World Cup in India and London respectively.
President of the Nigeria Hockey Federation, Senator Abdul Ningi addressed the teams at the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport, Abuja before their departure on Friday.
Senator Ningi encouraged the players to make the nation proud despite challenges faced by the board prior to the departure.
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“We are technically and mentally ready but the only thing is that other teams are already there for over a week now. We did our best as a board to make sure the players arrive a week ago but we didn’t succeed.”
“There is no much difference between the weather in Egypt and Nigeria. Even though we will be arriving a week later, I am sure we are ready and good to go. Our desire is to see that we do our best despite the challenges faced before travelling out of the country,” Ningi said
Head coach Nigeria Hockey team, Tunde Odedokun has promised to return home with a world cup ticket for both teams.
“We are not worried. We are aware of the situation and what the board and the federation have put in place to ensure we make this trip. The players are highly motivated and ready for battle. We are assuring Nigerians we are going to get the ticket for the World Cup,” he pledged.
In the same vein, captain of the Nigeria women Hockey team, Alfa John also pledged good representation by her teammates at the Hockey Nations Cup in Egypt.
“I promise Nigerians and the hockey federation that we are not just going out for jamboree. We are not just going out like the Nigeria hockey team we used to be. We are coming with a different pattern entirely. We are coming out with full strength and determination with the zeal to make the nation proud.” She assured.
Nigeria will play alongside Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa and host Egypt. The top two teams will square off in the final after a round robin competition.