The national teams of Ghana and Trinidad & Tobago had a full professional preparation for their Olympic Qualification Campaign. Thanks to the FIH project ‘Coaching Assistance for Potential Olympic Games Competitors’, the two teams were able to participate in the Invitational Tournament in Eindhoven, Netherlands from 25 until 30 June 2007.
The competing teams in Eindhoven were Ghana, Netherlands U-21, Portugal, Trinidad & Tobago and a team from Brabant (made up of players from Dutch club teams Den Bosch, Tilburg, Eindhoven and Oranje Zwart).
The aim of this special Tournament was to assist Ghana and Trinidad & Tobago in their attempts to prepare for their respective Continental Championships in 2007 by giving them the opportunity for Tournament matchplay under the guidance of their Dutch FIH appointed High Performance Coaches who also assisted in their prior training and preparations.
The Tournament, superbly organised by the Orange Zwart Hockey Club and well supported by lots of club volunteers, was a great success. During the Tournament Ghana, Portugal and Trinidad & Tobago each played 2 official international matches, as well as learning a lot about modern hockey in their unofficial matches against the stronger Young Dutch and Brabant teams. Although the two Dutch teams were the strongest, the teams from Ghana and Trinidad & Tobago made excellent progress during the Tournament and improved with each game. The same was also true of Portugal, due to play in the EuroHockey Nations Trophy in September 2007.
The FIH appointed a Tournament Director, Umpires Manager and Neutral Umpire, while the KNHB supported the Tournament by sending a Technical Officer. The travelling expenses and accommodation of the teams were paid for by their National Associations, and all the other Tournament costs were paid by Dutch sponsors.
The Umpires from Ghana and Trinidad & Tobago (Richmond Attipoe and Albert Marcano respectively) also benefited from this international match practice, as well as the provision of coaching from the specially appointed Umpires Manager, as they both prepared to officiate at their own Continental Federation Cups/Olympic Qualifiers.
The National ladies team of Ghana was also present in Eindhoven, for a training camp and to prepare for their Qualifier in Nairobi. They played 5 unofficial matches against local and regional Dutch ladies teams. Their umpire, Hagar Laryea, due to officiate in the African Olympic Qualifier, was also in attendance.
The Tournament was visited by FIH president Els van Breda Vriesman, and also by the Mayor of Eindhoven and FIH representatives Theo Ykema, Peter von Reth and Gabrielle van Doorn.
During the week the Tournament received lots of publicity with articles in the Dutch newspapers and special items on radio and TV.
The Tournament TD, Frank van ‘t Hek, commented ‘The formula of a low cost Tournament comprising several National teams from developing countries, together with strong National or Regional teams, is absolutely worth doing again and will help the up and coming countries to grow to a higher hockey level. For all the participants the FIH Invitational Tournament in Eindhoven was a wonderful and memorable Hockey Week’.
For more information please contact Richard Wilson in the FIH office in Lausanne.
Trinidad & Tobago finished 4th in the Pan American Games, and booked their place in one of the Olympic Qualifiers which will take place in 2008.
Ghana Men finished in 4th place and Ghana Women in 3rd place in their respective African Cups, each just missing out on places in the Qualifiers.
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