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2019 Hockey Super League gets underway in Abuja



The 2019 edition of the Nigeria Hockey Federation (NHF) Super League got underway at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, with seven matches played in the competition.

In the competition which has eight male and seven female teams participating, four matches were played in the male category and three in the female category.

Police Machine beat Yobe Desert Rollers 2-1 in the male competition’s opening match, while Kada Queens and Heartland Imo drew goalless in the female event’s opening game.

The other male competition’s games saw Niger Flickers whipping Plateau Tigers 2-0, Stallions drawing 2-2 with Delta Kings, and Kada Stars beating FCT 1-0.

The female competition’s other matches had Yobe Queens beating Delta Queens 4-3, and Plateau Queens beating Rivers Angels 2-0.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the competition continues on Monday with seven matches, with four of them in the male category and three in the female category.

In the male category, FCT face Police Machine, Stallions take on Yobe Desert Rollers, Kada Stars meet Plateau Tigers, and Niger Flickers square up to Delta Kings.

The female competition will have Yobe Queens facing Kada Queens, Plateau Queens taking on Delta Queens, and Heartland Imo meeting IGP Babes.

NAN reports that seven matches have been lined up for play daily at the astro-turf hockey pitch of the stadium from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The competition is scheduled to end on Saturday.


(Edited by Olawale Alabi)


Switzerland launches rescue package for soccer, ice hockey



Switzerland has announced a 350 million Swiss franc (294.12 million pounds) rescue package for its professional soccer and ice hockey leagues but insists the money should not be used to pay wages to high-earning players.

The Swiss Football League has yet to decide whether it will attempt to complete the season after it was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic at the start of March, though the ice hockey season has already been abandoned.

“The cornerstones of the Swiss sports system are threatened by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, such as the collapse of ticket sales and season tickets, the cancellation of small and large-scale sporting events and sponsors’ cancellations,” a Federal Government statement said.

Experience from previous economic and financial crises shows that the sport suffers more severely and more permanently from a crisis than the economy.

The government said the money would be paid in the form of loans and that “federal loans must not be used to finance players’ above-average salaries”.

A further 150 million francs was made available to other sports and mass-participation sport, it said.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Felix Ajide (NAN)


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Police Games: Force Headquarters win male singles gold in scrabble, shine in hockey



Patrick Omini of Force Headquarters (FHQ) Abuja won the second gold medal available in the scrabble event at the 12thNigerian Police Games (NPG) on Sunday in Awka.

Omini claimed the gold medal in the male category of the singles event after eight wins and 935 accumulated points.

Joy Egbe of Zone 5 had earlier picked the sport’s first gold medal after winning in the female category with seven wins and 1,378 accumulated points.

Ubi Oju representing Zone 6 won silver in the male category with seven wins and 1,087 accumulated points.

Adegoke Adesanya from Zone 2 won the bronze medal with seven wins and 850 accumulated points.

In other events, the round-robin series stage of the hockey competition began with a total of four matches.

In the male category, FHQ defeated their counterparts from Zone 2 and Zone 1 with 1-0 scorelines while Zone 3 secured a 0-0 draw with their opponents from Zone 7.

In the only game played in the female category, Zone 7 defeated their rivals from Zone 1 1-0.

Kalat Shammang, Chairman of the Police Hockey Federation, said the competition was in a league format where the top three would win the gold, silver and bronze medals.

Shammang, who is a member of the Technical Committee, commended the quality of play and the positive rivalry among the teams.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Games continues on Monday.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi)

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2020 NIPOGA: Medalists emerge in male and female hockey events



Medalists emerged on Thursday in the male and female hockey events of the ongoing 2020 Nigeria Polytechnic Games (NIPOGA) at the Kwara State Polytechnic in Ilorin.

The competition’s final table, signed by the Games’ Hockey Coordinator, Pat-Susan Omoware, showed that The Polytechnic Ibadan won gold in the male category after garnering four points.

They one one and lost one match and ended with a +5 goals difference.

Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo won the silver medal, also with four points but with a -1 goal difference.

Barkin Ladi Polytechnic in Plateau won the bronze medal with no point after losing their two matches and with -6 goals difference.

In the female category, Barkin Ladi Polytechnic clinched the gold medal after winning their two matches for six points and a +10 goals difference.

Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic of Zaria won the silver medal with three points after winning one and losing one match with a -one goal difference.

Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi-Uku settled for the bronze medal after losing their two matches and gathering a -9 goals difference.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the games which is in its 20th edition is featuring participants from 51 institutions competing in 14 sports events.

The games which started on Feb. 5 is expected to end on Feb. 16.

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam and Olawale Alabi)

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Football can learn from hockey’s video umpire system, official says



Hockey may enjoy only a fraction of football’s wealth and glamour, yet the sport’s governing body believes it could teach its bigger cousin a few things about the use of technology.

Like football, hockey uses video replays in major competitions to make key decisions.

While it is not immune to controversies over the decisions themselves, hockey officials believe its video system is less intrusive and more transparent than football’s.

In football, a video assistant checks key decisions and suggests a VAR review if it appears the pitch referee has got it wrong.

Yet many fans complain that goals are disallowed for trivial reasons, often after players and stadium announcers have celebrated.

Hockey uses the challenge system where a team can ask for a review if they believe a decision is wrong.

If the video umpire agrees, they keep their right to a challenge; if not, they lose it for the rest of the game.

“In effect, it means that in the first half, nobody asks for the video umpire.

“You don’t joke around because you know if you are wrong, you penalise the team for the rest of the game,” said Thierry Weil, chief executive of the International Hockey Federation (FiH).

Replays of the incident are shown to the crowd and conversation between umpiring officials is broadcast to the public —- which does not happen in football.

“Sometimes football should listen to what other sports do, and not only hockey,” Weil, a former FIFA marketing director, told a small group of reporters.

Weil was also proud of the way the players were monitored during top games.

“Every single player on the field of play is monitored so (that) the coach can take players off and bring them on based on their physical condition,” he said.

Weil said innovation was important in hockey, which is one of the oldest Olympic sports.

He however pointed out that the sport is now looking over its shoulder with newer sports clamouring to be allowed into the Games.

“You have sports knocking on the door which are being considered as cool sports and our sport is not so cool,” he said. “So, you have to be on top of your sport and not taking things for granted.”

One idea he would like to implement is to place a light inside the ball which makes it glow and extinguishes when time is up. “It is the kind of thing we need to bring to the sport,” he said.

Weil said the FiH would also end the practice of watering the artificial pitches used for hockey as an environmental measure by 2024, even though he admitted that “some people say this will kill hockey”.

“You play a World Cup in India and put tonnes of water on the field of play whilst next door they don’t have water to drink. This is not something that can continue,” he said.

Weil also wanted more portable pitches in the Pro League —- a worldwide league featuring nine teams in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

One of such is the one deployed at the Twickenham Stoop rugby stadium for England’s home matches last season.

He said that was preferable to the temporary stadiums which had to be built for most games.

“If we can use existing infrastructure like we did in England, that is extremely useful,” he said.

“Temporary infrastructure involves a lot of work and money, and you have to build the lavatories for that… When you hear what we have spent on portable lavatories, it’s nonsense.”


(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)

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NYG: Kaduna male hockey team beat Nasarawa 6-1, female counterparts draw goalless with Delta



Team Kaduna on Thursday trounced their Nasarawa State counterparts 6-1 in male hockey at the ongoing National Youth Games (NYG) in Ilorin.

Their female counterparts however played a goalless draw with their Delta opponents.

Secretary of the Kaduna State Hockey Association, Yusuf Abdullahi, said the coast was not yet clear for them as the hockey competition at the Games is a round-robin affair.

“Our two teams are doing well, with the female winning one and drawing two, while the male are yet to lose and they will battle Ekiti in their third match” Abdullahi said.

Team Kaduna’s football team were, howver, no match for their Edo counterparts in a quarter-final fixture as they lost 0-3.

The football coach of Team Kaduna at the Games, Nasiru Chiji, attributed their loss to Edo to the screening out of seven of his players due to overage.

Team Kaduna were left with no option other than to use the available players.

They have however launched a protest against two of their opponents players for not being properly registered.

(Edited Shuaib Sadiq and Olawale Alabi)

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Nigeria Hockey set to grow to next level, says coach



Okwudilichukwu Menyei, the coach Stallion Hockey Club of  Lagos, on Friday in Abuja  said Nigeria Hockey is set  to grow to the next level.

Menyei said this to News Agency of Nigeria while reviewing the training for Hockey coaches and officials in Abuja.

According to him, the training organised by the Nigeria Hockey Federation (NHF) has changed the level of Hockey in the country.

He said that the training was organised to develop the sport in the country.

“The federation has done a good thing by organising this training for coaches and umpires.

“The training is very impactful to all participants.

“We learnt different aspects of coaching, umpiring and officiating and now have rated personnel to carry out this assignment at different levels.

“We have been impacted on coaching levels  one for secondary schools coaching and level two  for club coaching, level one umpires for Juniors and  level  two for tournament officiating.

“Technical level one for the technical aspects of the game and developers course to raise trainers and educators that can continue impacting officials trained,” he said.

Okwudilichukwu further said that the federation needed funds to organise grassroots programmes for each geopolitical zone in the country.

“We need private organisations to support us in our various programmes; no plan can succeed without adequate funding.

“These courses and facilitators’ expenses have gulped some money, without which we couldn’t achieve anything.

“The federation gave out development sticks to different states to go catch them young in their regions.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Hasten efforts to improve hockey standard in Nigeria, coach urges federation



Abdullahi Ndana-Baba, Head Coach of Kada Stars Hockey Club of Kaduna, on Tuesday appealed to the Nigeria Hockey Federation (NHF) to urgently improve the standard of the sport in the country.

“The federation needs to in this aspect work on the national team and individual players ahead of the upcoming African qualifiers in South Africa for the 2020 Olympic Games,’’ he said.

The coach said some of the talents discovered at the Super League held at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja in June could readily fit in here.

He said such players could be invited to the national team for preparations ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.

“I saw some good players that can improve in the game if given good coaching, and they will thereby improve in the area of their knowledge of tactics of the game.

“We also have individual players that appear for the country and who we believe can improve in their performances at international competitions,’’ Ndana-Baba said.

He said he as a coach with other stakeholders were worried about the quality of play ahead of the qualifiers, stating that they believe the federation needs a lot of support.

“This (quality of play) is giving us a lot of concern because we have the African Qualifiers for the Olympics and the World Cup next year, where we will be facing some good players from different countries of the world,” the coach said.

Ndana-Baba then urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to support the NHF to enable it assemble players in camp early enough for adequate training for the competitions.

Speaking on facilities, the coach advised the NHF to always ensure the use of water sprinklers to wet the astro-turf pitch at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium before any competition.

“We have been facing some kind of challenges in hockey, especially in the aspect of the field. Our playing ground is always dry.

“The federation has to work on this. A hockey pitch has to be wet to enable the team to get a good result.

“When you have a good pitch, the players will perform to their best, and this will also encourage other youths to take interest in the game,” he said.

(Edited by Folorunso Poroye and Olawale Alabi)

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Ningi urges private organisations to invest in hockey activities



The President of Nigeria Hockey Federation (NHF), Abdul Ningi, has urged private organisations to invest in the federation’s activities.

Ningi made the appeal on Saturday in Abuja during the closing ceremony of the 2019 Hockey Super League.

He said members of the federation’s board had been supporting its activities all the while.

“I’m very devastated that the government of the day doesn’t pay any interest to hockey in particular.

“Members of the board of this federation have been running its activities from their private pockets and for this particular tournament it has not been different.

“I’m however happy that this tournament has taken place peacefully and equally happy that we have discovered quite a number of talents.

“Equally, I am happy that the quality of the championship has improved,” the NHF president said.

He said the competition was organised to engage youths in the country so that they can be self reliant.

“We did our best to  engage  young women and men  from the streets who could have otherwise become a problem to the society,” Ningi said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the male competition of the league was won by Niger Flickers of Minna with 19 points from seven games.

Defending champions Kada Stars of Kaduna ended second with 16 points, while Police Machine finished in third place with 14 points.

In the female competition, Yobe Queens of Damaturu won with 13 points from five matches.

Kada Queens of Kaduna finished in second place with 11 points, while Delta Queens ended third with nine points.

A total of eight teams participated in the men’s competition, while six teams took part in the women’s competition which was held at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

The 2019 Hockey Super League had started on June 16 and ended on Saturday

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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Niger Flickers defeat Stallions 3-0 to win 2019 Hockey Super League



Niger Flickers Hockey Club of Minna defeated Stallions Hockey Club of Lagos 3-0 on Saturday in Abuja to win the male competition of the eight-club 2019 Hockey Super League.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in the match played at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium both teams fought hard in the first half

But they failed to convert their scoring chances into goals.

Niger Flickers displayed a brillant performance in the second half as they scored their three goals.

The Stallions fought harder but they could not score any goal till the game ended.

NAN reports that Niger Flickers played seven matches, winning six and drawing one to place first on the table with 19 points.

Stallions won two matches, drew one and lost four to have seven points.

Kada Stars of Kaduna, the 2018 champions, finished in second place with 16 points, while Police Machine finished third with 14 points.

The  tournament which started on Sunday ended on Saturday.

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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