KHUMALO HOCKEY STADIUM in Bulawayo hosted yet another successful International Hockey series Open Tournament for men and women that saw four nations including Zimbabwe take part during the first weekend of December.
The other three nations were Egypt who won the men’s tournament unbeaten, Namibia and unranked Zambia.
Credit should go to the local organizing committee headed by Kalpesh Parshotam for managing the event well and adding another cap to Bulawayo’s sporting events organizational skills.
Mysports shares some of the lessons it picked from the three day event and hopes the Hockey Association of Zimbabwe learnt one or two things from the engagement with these nations.
It’s almost 25 years since the Khumalo Hockey Stadium was built in this low density suburb(Khumalo) that is close to the Ascot shopping center. It was built at the same time when the biggest soccer stadium in the City (Babourfields) was renovated to cater for the 1995 All Africa Games that the country hosted. It also saw the building of the Magamba Hockey Stadium in the capital. While the Magamba Hockey Stadium is in a disappointing state, the Khumalo facility with its green artificial turf which was resurfaced in 2010 for the Africa Olympic Qualifiers was showered with praises by the visiting teams. That the main pitch, the training pitch and the terraces and other facilities within the stadium have been maintained to high standards is a lesson on the importance of maintaining facilities meant for use by the community. With a bit of funding the adjust piece of land should be considered for the establishment of more Hockey fields. We also hope that the government will fulfill its promise to renovate Magamba as explained by the Principal Director in the Ministry of Sports, Benson Dube during the closing ceremony of the series.
What they said about stadium;
Sue Simmonds- Tournament Technical Director
“This Khumalo Hockey stadium is phenomenal, it is world class in my view and it has made running the tournament easy, many thanks to the Local Organizing Committee, I think we should have more tournaments here in Bulawayo”.
Sue Simmonds shares her views on the Hockey Series with Mysports
Gus McVey- Zimbabwe Hockey Women’s Coach
“The future of Zimbabwe Hockey is looking good, look at this facility it’s a great facility and I think many teams would like to come and play here as we have the facilities”.
Zimbabwe Women’s Coach
Ezz Ahmed- Egypt Hockey Men’s Captain
“This is not my first time here in Bulawayo and at this stadium, I always enjoy my stay and my game here and this tournament has been good”.
Egypt Captain speaking to Mysports
Egypt won this series after winning all of their three matches and conceding just two goals and scoring a massive 34 goals of the 54 goals that the men’s tournament got. They beat Namibia 17-1, Zambia 13-0 and Zimbabwe 4-1, a lesson maybe that Zimbabwe is closing the gap between them and the Pharaohs.
Zim Men’s Coach
Zimbabwe coach Tongai Mukwewa said “We are improving, the last time we played Egypt we lost by 13 goals, so it’s a plus for us and I think the gap is closing between us and Egypt as we have lots of young players in the team and this is a future team”.
Egypt showed their class as they emerged as the only team that recorded wins in the men’s section while the rest played out draws against each other. Zimbabwe though finished second as a result of a superior goal difference compared to Zambia and Namibia.
Namibia emerged as the best in the women’s section winning their two matches over Zimbabwe and Zambia. Zambia surprised many and beat Zimbabwe 3-2 despite their unranked status, giving us a lesson on the investment they have done in Hockey in the last few years. Zimbabwe lost 1-0 to Namibia in a close match leaving the Namibia coach convinced that Zimbabwe is strong while arguing as well that they are a lot of Zimbabwe girls at Namibia universities who surprisingly were not in the Zim squad.
Zim vs Namibia
Erwin Handura- Namibia Women’s Hockey coach
“It was a great tournament and competitive, I have seen lots of players from Zimbabwe who play for universities in Namibia as I coach at university, they have been playing for the past 4-5 years and I think they can compete at this level”.
Namibia women’s coach
The crowd was good and it came in all colours. The way they cheered all the teams perhaps confirmed a group of fans who missed watching hockey at this beautiful stadium and perhaps there is a need to organize more tournaments even locally so as to give to the fans what they seem to be missing, competitive hockey.
In other facts and figures, while the men’s section produced 54 goals, with Egypt scoring 34 goals and Elganaimi Ahmed emerging as the top scorer with 10 goals, the women’s section produced 9 goals from 9 different players.