Blow for Zim Hockey Players

Sport Zimbabwe

Lance Chihande

ZIMBABWE’S ongoing lockdown due to Covid-19 has affected the country’s participation at the Indoor Africa Cup of Nations set for September 25-27 in Durban, South Africa.

Lockdown measures in the country, which also classified hockey as a high risk sport, mean the players have been inactive.

Sporting disciplines have to seek clearance from authorities in the country before they can start games, something that a lot of the associations have not been able to do during lockdown.

As a result, the Hockey Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) has advised the Africa Hockey Federation that the men’s and men’s national teams are unavailable.

Indications are HAZ tried in vain to have the deadline for confirmation of participation moved.

Teams were expected to confirm participation by August 7, and Zimbabwe then opted out.

Officials have indicated that a number of factors had been taken into consideration.

“(We considered) Zimbabwe’s lockdown measures at the time of the deadline, hockey is still being classed as a High Risk Sport by the SRC, travel restrictions currently in place with regards to provincial travel, travel restrictions currently in place with regards to travel in and out of Zimbabwe, travel restrictions currently in place in South Africa and the financial implications of quarantine should travel have been permitted, both in South Africa and on return to Zimbabwe,” the association said in a statement.

Regarding the lockdown effect to the hockey national team’s preparations, H.A.Z president Grant Campbell said:

“Another major factor contributing to this decision was that the cut-off date for advising our participation was on the 7th of August. For that stage the chances of any travel due to sporting activities and coaching activities has made participating very difficult.”