Good for Malawi hockey to return to international scene

There is always positive enthusiasm to revive hockey and one of them is the desire to have its own special facility at Kamuzu Upper Stadium.

Every weekend, Kamuzu Upper Stadium is always filled with ardent youths with the desire to uplift their favourite sport.

But the pace at which the stadium project is moving is so slow because Hockey Association of Malawi (Ham) is failing to raise the needed funds for a modern facility that can make the sport more attractive to the youths to seriously take up the sport.

Malawi National Council of Sports has tried its best to help Ham in this ambitious project but the support is not enough.

Hockey funding needs some intervention from all stakeholders such as the government and the corporate world. FMB has been the big supporter of this sport for a long time and it needs other players as well.

It is good news that Sports Council has managed to send a Malawi national team squad to Tanzania for the first edition of the Africa Hockey Federation President’s Cup to be competed for by the hosts, Zambia and Malawi.

It’s a good step considering that it’s been close two decades that a national squad has participated in an international match.

In the golden past, Malawi hockey was very glamorous. It attracted plenty of sponsors. Local tournaments were in abundance and the national team as well as clubs participated in international tournaments.

If Malawi hockey had developed further than what it was in the past, it would have been a force to reckon with in as far as Africa is concerned.

The ardent officials of Ham never relented even when the sponsors pulled out while others shunned it. They tried everything in the book to keep the ship floating and kudos to them because there is a new breath of life in this sport if participation at the first national team international participation after many years in the doldrums is anything to go by.

The only international participation the club is represented is through club participation and mostly because of the positive zeal done by Genetrix Hockey Club. Last August, Genetrix participated in Zambia Hockey Association (ZHA) invitational tournament that also had a club from Zimbabwe.

Genetrix has participated in four international tournaments abroad and two club internationals at home. They have the ardour and panache to uplift this sport and they mostly finance these trips on their own with some support from Sports Council and the corporate world.

They do so at the expense of being ridiculed because they go to these tournaments ill-equipped. The team lack proper equipment and use archaic wooden sticks. After one international tournament, Genetrix’s spokesman Chigomezgo Thindwa said other teams there applauded the Malawians for their passion considering it receives little support.

Starting with this national team participation, let us move forward and give hockey the necessary support starting with building a proper facility at the Kamuzu Upper Stadium. The pitch was given to hockey by government and it’s up to the government to show its keen interest by giving more support.

Just like there is lots of clamour and din to render more support to football and netball, hockey should also be given the same spotlight. The administrators of this sport have done a lot and they need support.

If an excellent modern facility was made available, made even more glamorous through other amenity facilities, it can attract lots of gate fee-paying supporters. The place should have attractive amenities like tuckshops, ice cream parlours, restaurants, kids’ playing grounds and others that can attract families to a day out just for hockey.

This is what used to happen at hockey tournament because the games were played at the exclusive clubs like Country Club Limbe, Mpingwe Sports Club, Indian Sports Club, Kamuzu Academy, Blantyre Sports Club, Mzuzu Golf Club and other member-owned clubs.

The hosts would make good revenue from sales of food, snacks and drinks. If the special stadium would have such amenities, that money would go into Ham’s coffers. It’s just my dream but I share it so that the powers that be should think about it because if the sport can start attracting more people, the corporate world too would be attracted to market themselves at such tournaments.

That’s what the corporate world wants — huge gatherings at games where they can place visible advertising apparels for their products and services.

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Shy Star
Shy Star
5 years ago

This is a good dream, Duncan. I support it.

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