The University of Botswana Hockey Club are locked in preparations for the upcoming African Club Championships to be held next month. Despite the dates and host still yet to be confirmed by the African Hockey Federation, the tournament is expected to attract teams from all hockey nations across the continent.
UB hockey club qualified for the competition after being crowned Botswana champions in a tournament which was held in Maun earlier this year. They (UB) will become the first team in the country to take part in this event, with previous attempts unfruitful due to several issues to do with the Botswana Hockey Association (BHA).
The team reported for camp this past weekend, where they are expected to play a number of teams (both locally and regionally) as they step up their preparations. In an interview with Gazette Sport on Saturday, the club’s men’s team captain Robert Tonhoro said the camp was set up to help the team compete at an international level.
“We having this hockey week which we shall prepare the team to compete at international level. We also hoping for two or more camps with teams outside Botswana to give us that international hockey vibe, and like any sporting event train on fitness & drills to notch up our teams performancee,” Tonhoro told Gazette Sport. He added that the importance of participation at this tournament is huge as they will not only be representing UB, but the country at large.
“Participating in such a tournament is really important,because we are not only representing the University, but we are also doing it for the country, and we hoping everything goes excalty according to plan,” he added. The captain further went onto to reveal some of their challenges.
“Like any other team, we have had our challenges financial. Constitutionally the BHA has no obligation to finance us for the ACC. We as a club will have to see that we get ourselves there,” he carried.
“We don’t have adequate facilities but however we try make he best of what we have and it has gotten us places. Currently Botswana men’s team is currently rated 81 out of just over 200 countries by our international body FIH, and 9th in Africa out of just over 30 countries. So for us to progress to better levels we need proper fan base, and also support from the business community as well as the media,” stated the team captain.
The camp is expected to last from 17th until 25th, the club will also host a coaching and umpire clinic this week, meanwhile games will be played at the University of Botswana as well as BNYC Courts.