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South Africa Withdraws from African Games Hockey Due to Unfit Facilities and Unprepared Hosts

South Africa has made the decision to withdraw both its men’s and women’s hockey teams from the ongoing 13th African Games in Accra, citing concerns over the substandard facilities and ill-preparedness of the hosts. This action follows recommendations and guidelines outlined by the International Hockey Federation.

The withdrawal stems from the inadequate preparation of the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Pitch, which was deemed unsuitable for staging the competition despite assurances from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the African Hockey Federation. South Africa’s Olympic governing body, SASOC, expressed disappointment, stating that despite repeated assurances, the pitches failed to meet international standards.

Team SA’s decision was reinforced by consultations with Sports Flooring Warehouse, a South African specialist in carpet laying recognized by the FIH. Their analysis of shared images confirmed the unsatisfactory condition of the field, raising concerns about potential harm to athletes.

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Ms. Patience Shikwambana, Team SA’s leader, conveyed the reasons for withdrawal to the LOC, highlighting the logistical challenges caused by the rescheduling of the hockey competition and the absence of test events to ensure venue readiness, as promised during previous meetings.

Moreover, the proximity of the African Games to the 2024 Paris Olympics, for which South Africa had already qualified both men’s and women’s hockey teams, intensified concerns over the risk of injury if competing under the current circumstances in Accra.

In light of these developments, South Africa opted to prioritize the safety and well-being of its athletes, foregoing participation in the African Games. Joy Sports has sought comment from the LOC regarding South Africa’s withdrawal.

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