By Duncan Mlanjira
Hockey is still active in the country but there is room for improvement if there can be consistent sponsorship for tournaments.
Hockey Association of Malawi acting general secretary Chigomezgo Thindwa said currently, hockey is active in the Southern Region due to the leagues sponsored by First Merchant Bank (FMB) but Ham is working towards making sure the Central and Northern regions get active as well.
“Lack of consistent sponsorship in the Central and Northern regions has been the main handicap for the clubs but this year, this will be different,” Thindwa said.
“One key focus area for this year for Ham is to revive hockey in schools. At the moment, schools hockey is most active in just a few private schools and we need to get primary and secondary schools playing hockey again countrywide.”
He said teams that are most active are Braves, Flacons, Genetrix, Nyala, Scorpions and Simba in the South that also has inactive clubs like Mpingwe Sports Club, Changalume Barracks, Cobbe Sticks, Chancellor College and the Polytechnic.
The Central Region has inactive City Hawks, Capital Braves, Kamuzu Barracks, LUANAR, Natural Resources, and Super Cheetahs while the North they have Moyale Barracks and Mzuzu University.
“The levels of participation vary as some teams like the Varsity teams are not always able to full participate in the leagues, more so specific tournaments,” Thindwa said.
“Mpingwe Sports Club tends to participate more in indoor hockey leagues than outdoor. There are nine Malawi Defence Force battalions that were equipped with hockey equipment and they play in MDF games. Some like Changalume and Cobbe Sticks are able to participate [in the Southern League] due to proximity to the venues — at the hockey stadium project, Country Club Limbe, inside Kamuzu Stadium and the College of Medicine Sports Complex for the indoor games.”
He said at the last elective AGM in 2013, Ham set key development goals to ensure that hockey grows into a truly national sport with representation and activity in all zones.
“The first goal is activity in the form of tournaments and a league in Lilongwe. The second is planned hockey activities (leagues and tournaments) in primary and secondary schools — inter schools hockey tournaments that schools will look forward to every year on their school calendars.
“The third goal is to have national hockey teams — senior, Under-17 and Under-21. This encompasses developing our officials i.e. administrators, umpires and judges to professionally run hockey games as well as training and upgrading coaches to be able to develop and perform on the international level.”