FIH President Tayyab Ikram was in Africa last week with a main topic at heart: the development of hockey in the African continent.
His visit kicked off in Blantyre, Malawi, with all African nations gathering there for the 24th Congress of the African Hockey Federation as well as the Africa Cup for Club Champions.
On this occasion, President Ikram led a development meeting focused on the FIH Empowerment and Engagement strategy and its four main pillars: more places to play, boost to coaching, more opportunities to compete and more tools to empower Continental Federations (CFs) and National Associations (NAs).
“We spoke about the responsibilities of FIH, CFs and NAs to deliver that strategy. I explained the application process to benefit from the strategy and how best FIH can assist them. I can tell that all members really appreciated the initiative of FIH”, President Ikram said.
Some resolutions were passed, including the need for a regional cooperation that can help reduce the adverse impact of the geographical distances in Africa, which are very challenging. Even the possibility of developing the sport on a regional basis in Africa, at least in certain areas, where neighboring countries can get a benefit, was discussed. Also, different national associations shared their best practices.
“It was a really healthy and fruitful interaction, and I’m very thankful to all participants, and also the athletes, for their inspiring insights!”, the FIH President added.
From Malawi, President Ikram flew to Nairobi where he was received, together with the President of the African Hockey Federation, Seif Ahmed, by Kenya’s Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba. It was a particularly fruitful meeting since the government agreed to overhaul the hockey infrastructure in Kenya, first with a new playing surface at the Nairobi Hockey Stadium and then a complete renovation of the same, to make it a state-of-the-art facility. Of course, the Kenyan Hockey Union and its Chairman Nashon Randiek will be fully associated to this project.
“This will be a first step to provide the best possible infrastructure for our young athletes in Kenya, a country with a huge potential, especially for women’s hockey. I took this opportunity to present a trophy of appreciation to the women’s national team, who are ranked second in Africa! Together with the African Hockey Association, FIH will commit to provide not only the necessary infrastructure but also the technical support, from grassroot to high performance level, and also set up the coach and the umpires education pathways, with a view to make Kenya a regional hub for East Africa again”, the FIH President stated at the conclusion of his visit.