Ghana women are finalising preparations for the Greenfields African Hockey Championships 2015 as they look to become the first Ghanaian hockey team to qualify for the Olympic Games.
The women's senior national hockey team has been training at the Theodosia Okoh National Hockey Stadium in Ghana's capital Accra ahead of the event taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 23 October until 1 November.
With the winners of the African Championships qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, there's all to play for in Johannesburg.
The competition will see Ghana women competing against six other African countries including host nation South Africa, as well as Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Hockey in Ghana has been developing incredibly fast in recent years, with recent progress attributed to support from the FIH Targeted Assistance Programme (TAP).
FIH, working with the African Hockey Federation, England Hockey and UK Sport, are now one year into a four year programme with the Ghana Hockey Association.
Some of the key activity already undertaken as part of this initiative has seen a coaching and umpiring team recently travel to Ghana to run training and education programmes.
More recently, in August, Ghana women's national team spent two weeks in England based at both England Hockey’s home, Bisham Abbey, and FIH Innovation Partner Loughborough University.
There they played some test matches, received some expert coaching and observed top quality hockey at the Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015.
Ghana women's Team Manager, Rosemary Lamptey, recently told the Ghanaian publication GNA Sports that she is confident the team will beat off competition from their opponents to qualify for the Olympic Games.
She said: “They will qualify for the Rio Olympics - I believe with determination and focus they will make it. They are motivated after the training tour to England. The girls are in good shape after that tour and have psyched themselves up for the South Africa tournament. They are focused and they want to bring something home and definitely we will pull surprises in South Africa."
The Vice President of the Ghana Hockey Association, James Amoo, is also confident ahead of the Championships. Speaking to Ghanaian publication Starr Sports, he said: “We’ve been preparing for the best part of the year (for the African Hockey Championships). We have a relatively young squad but none the less experienced, so we should be able to battle with the best in Africa, both in the male and female categories to qualify."
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