The modern sport of ice hockey was developed in Canada, most notably in Montreal, where the first indoor game was played on March 3, 1875. Some characteristics of that game, such as the length of the ice rink and the use of a puck, have been retained to this day. The game of hockey has been said to be modeled after what was actually referred to as hurley, hurling, bandy, shinty or shinny. Just like any other sport would have been expected to have a history, so too is the game of hockey. Hockey as a sport has been around for over 4000 years. However, the game had its international exposure in 1908, when the first Olympic Hockey competition for men was held in London. This evolution led to the formation of the International Hockey Federation in 1924.
The world governing body for the sport, was founded in Paris. However, the Federation currently has about 52 member associations from five continents across the world, with Ghana not an exception. The Ghana Hockey Association is the body tasked with the responsibility of managing the game in the country. It was founded in 1961. The Association is under the guidance of the National Sport Council, the body responsible for the management of all field sport in the country. The GHA is a member of the African Hockey Federation and the International Hockey Federation. Ghana made its first appearance at the international stage in 1974, when it participated in the World Hockey Cup, which was held in Malaysia.The Association since its formation has choked several major successes in every aspect of the game, that is, in the area of competition, coach and player development to officiating official’s development, in both the African terrain and the world at large. The success choked by the Association in the area of competition seems to be quite enormous.
These successes began when the Male national team was crowned African champions in 1974 and later competed in the world cup event. It therefore became the first team sport to represent the country in a world cup event, which was held in 1975 in Malaysia. This efforts of the Association has been rewarded the senior female national team, winning Silver and Bronze medals in various African competitions. The GHA`s successes has not been limited to the senior national teams but also the junior sides. The junior male team were also crowned African champions in 1978 and later participated in the Junior World Cup in 1979, France. Furthermore, the national under 17 team was also crowned African champions in 2010 and for the first time, Africa was represented in the Youth Olympic Games. The 2022 Women’s Hockey Africa Cup of Nations was the eighth edition of the Women’s Hockey Africa Cup of Nations, the quadrennial international women’s field hockey championship of Africa organized by the African Hockey Federation. In February 2021 it was announced that the tournament would be held alongside the men’s tournament at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana from 17 to 23 January 2022. Ghana hosted countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Uganda. Ghana was beaten by South Africa in the final. Ghana female and male teams qualifies for the next 2022 Commonwealth games in England, Birmingham City.
The women gain a second qualification while the men had their first appearance in the event. Ghana’s men’s team at Birmingham drew just one with Canada and lost all the remaining matches played. I was informed that, this is the one of their best tournament both the men’s team and the women’s team have had in some many years which means that their level has improved tremendously.
The women just won silver at the just ended African Hockey Cup of Nations hosted by Ghana whilst the men made fifth place. Under the leadership of Dr. Ben Asante, Ghana Hockey Association has seen a tremendous changes and has choked several major successes in every aspect of the game, that is, in the area of competition, coach and player development to officiating official’s development, at large. Through his leadership and connections, Ghana National Gas Company has given enough to support the game of hockey and continues to push it further. The company has decided to reward Ghana with four new astro-turf called the water-based hockey pitch. The national hockey pitch known as the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Pitch have been renovated by the Gas company and it is the first time since the stadium was built by Ghana’s former president the late President Atta Mills, who was a hockey player and plays for the national team. One of his team mate was the late Saara Mensah in the 1984 just to mention a few. Ghana’s late president Mills enjoyed the field hockey, and once played for the national hockey team (he remained a member of the Veterans Hockey Team until his death).
The Gas company under his administration is constructing new hockey pitches at the University of Ghana Legon, KNUST campus and Cape Coast University campus, just to unearth talents for the game of hockey to develop in this country. If this project new hockey pitches completed, it will be one of his greatest achievement and the most achieved leaders of the Ghana Hockey Association. Ghana Gas Company under his leadership will be remembered as one of the few companies that contributed immensely to hockey development in Ghana for many years to come. Not to say government has not contributed to the Ghana Hockey Association and the successes chocked but Ghana and hockey players will forever be grateful to a man who have devoted his time and money to support the game and push it to the highest. As an association, the government is obliged to provide support to all including players, coaches and officiating officials’ and owned by the states. One of the huge development in Ghana’s hockey is the fact that, it’s national hockey stadium have been given a water-based carpet to the level of international standardized and three others in our universities to train people who are interested.
Human development in the area of hockey is one of the main focus of the Gas company under the leadership of Dr. Ben Asante and many hockey players who have had this training have testified that indeed they are happy and have accepted it in good faith. They can emphatically say that it is enormous. For Ghana National Gas Company, Hockey sports in Ghana, has just begun and hopping for the best in the absence of Dr. Ben K.D Asante as president of the association.
By Romeo Oduro