Walter Imoedemhe, a technical official with the Nigeria Hockey Federation (NHF), says Nigeria will be hosting the upcoming Hockey African Club Championship (ACC) to win.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ACC is scheduled to flick off from Dec. 15 to Dec. 22 at the Hockey Astro turf pitch of the National Stadium, Package B, Abuja.
Imoedemhe told NAN on Monday in Abuja that preparations were ongoing to ensure that Nigeria not only successfully hosts the international tournament, but also clinch gold in the male and female events.
“We have a tournament by December which is the ACC being hosted here in Nigeria.
“Our level of preparedness for that tournament will convince everybody whether Nigeria will be ready for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“The just concluded Super League in Abuja was one of the best as it produced the highest number of youthful players who are very enterprising and they performed well above our expectations.
“We feel that by this year’s ACC, if Nigeria clinches both cups in the male and female categories, then we can say that by 2020 we will be ready for the world,” he said.
The NHF technical official said that the preparation for the championship would be in two phases, adding that the federation was working in harmony with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to ensure a hitch free event.
“Our preparation for the ACC is in two phases; preparation of players and the preparation of the venue for the tournament itself.
“The board is working in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in fact Committees have been set up comprising of members from both the board and the ministry, so that the logistics can be perfected before then.
“I can tell you that, budgets have been made and approved even for the board at the national level, it’s just a question of release of funds.
“Whatever we get from the ministry, as a federation, we are also working on getting sponsors to augment government’s effort.
“The ministry cannot do it alone, therefore we must look for sponsors and we are ready to do just that,” he said.
Imoedemhe also said that the board was leaving no stone unturned to ensure that all the teams representing the country for the championship were adequately prepared.
“In terms of preparation of the players, the board is also leaving no stone unturned and is currently in partnership with the teams that won the Super League to ensure that they prepare well for the forthcoming championship.
“We are not just hosting for formality sake, but we want to host and win comfortably.
“We are happy that with the crop of players we have at our disposal now, we will have a successful tournament,” he said.
Imoedemhe added that the ministry was also doing its own part in partnership with the NHF to ensure that the tournament venue was renovated and proper facilities put in place ahead of the event.
“We have one of the best stadium in Africa but we need to touch it up.
“We need to work on our flood lights because this is an international event that will host night matches.
“The digital score board is also non functional, so we need to work on it and then the terrace as well as the seats need an uplift.
“These are just some of the few things that need to be done to give us the finesse that we want and then we are set to go.
“As a matter of fact, this stadium is the best in Africa and I believe we will give the world a good tournament come December,” he said.