Hockey national team coach, Abdullahi Baba Ndana, has identified poor facilities, equipment as the major drawbacks facing hockey development, noting that with good facilities, Nigeria will rate among the best African hockey teams.
Nigerian senior male team are currently outside the best four in Africa, though the female senior side are better ranked in third position in the continent.
Speaking at the sidelines of the 5th National Youth Games ongoing at the University of Ilorin, Abdullahi, who is also Kaduna state hockey head coach said despite the poor facilities, Nigeria boasts a very good U-21 sides that can develop into the senior teams in few years to reclaim the nation’s glory.
“Our major problem in hockey is facilities and equipment. Many states struggled to play hockey, some states don’t even have hockey sticks to play. The field is another challenge, the hard ground that we are using here in Unilorin is not what we should be using. The pitch is affecting the quality of play.
“This is the best performance for hockey since the National Youth Games began because it is played on round robin basis which means every team played against every other team and all the teams are improving per match. This was why we insisted on playing knockout to boost the players’ confidence and get the best out of them.
The former national team player said their target is to pick a team to represent Nigeria at the forthcoming Talent Africa Project (TAP), adding that there some new discoveries that can move up to the national U-17 team.