The Australian High Commission, in collaboration with African Mining Services (AMS), has provided sponsorship to Citizens International Hockey Club ahead of its 2018 Inter-School Hockey Championship.
The sponsorship includes a GH¢20,000 cheque package, 30-hockey sticks, 12-balls and jerseys from AIMS, whilst the Australian High Commission also donated a cheque for GH¢9,000, all aimed at ensuring that players from the various participating schools have a taste of international standards, so as to maintain their interest in the sport.
Andrew Barnes, Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, speaking at a short presentation event in Accra, said Australia has a strong position in hockey and that its men team is currently the number one in the world, hence the need to bring on board such expertise to develop the game in the country from lesser known sport to a leading sport.
“We wish to create a strong relationship between Australia hockey and Ghana hockey. Therefore, I will like to congratulate Citizens Int. Hockey Club for the good work they are doing for development of hockey in Ghana.
Hockey is a wonderful game and the country needs more than one sport; it cannot always be about football in Ghana because Ghanaians are very fit, strong and athletic and this combination mean that they are very good natural hockey players.
I hope that this tournament, will help to build and stimulate interest in hockey across the nation and our aim is to help Ghana get another hockey stadium somewhere else,” he stated.
Aside the gesture by the High Commissioner, he added that AMS, an Australian mining company and a leading miner in West Africa with a strong brand and as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes, are interested in promoting grassroots sports and helping in youth development.
This, he said, was a way of giving back to the communities in which minerals resources are extracted.
Dr. K.D Asante, Chairman of Citizens Int. Hockey Club, expressed his gratitude to Australian High Commission and AMS for supporting hockey.
“Hockey has been around for over 60-years in Ghana but the development has been slow and we are looking at three key areas that we need to tackle to develop the sports to a national level. These include: development of personnel, both playing body and management or administrators; development of facilities thus hockey stadia and playing materials; and sponsorship for the sport at all levels,” he said.
“We are therefore calling on government and other corporate organisations to come on board to provide solutions in these areas,” he added.
This year’s tournament is an upgrade from last two years and last year, with 16 schools from five-regions; Eastern, Ashanti, Volta, Central and Greater Accra expected to participate.
They include defending champions in the male category Adisadel Collage, Achimota School, Prempeh Collage, Mfansipim, St. Augustine Collage, Presec Legon, Agotime Senior High, among many others.
Also, reigning female champions Wesley Girls, Yaa Asantewa Girls, Achimota, Mfantsiman Girls, amongst others, compete in the ladies category.