As the 2018 hockey African Cup for Club Champions (ACCC) kicks-off today in Abuja, there are indications that two of Nigerian representatives, Kada Stars and Kada Queens may not attend the competition.
The ACCC is Africa’s flagship club competition and integral part of the International Hockey Federation (IHF) annual calendar, thus a country which failed to attend the competition after qualifying, without genuine reason, risked being fined the sum of N5 million and being banned for a year or longer than that. In this case, the fine and ban will be suffered by Kaduna state.
Foreign clubsides from Ghana, Kenya and Egypt have already arrived Abuja for the annual competition billed for the hockey Astroturf pitch of the Abuja National Stadium. Other Nigerian representatives, Delta Stars females are ready for the tourney, while Niger Flickers male team just returned from a training tour of Kenya in their bid to win the competition.
The Kada Queens are perrenial Nigeria league winners and bronze winners at the Kenya 2016 ACCC, while the Kada Stars defeated Nigerian Super league defending champions, Niger Flickers, who have won the league in the last three years, in a tough gruelling final match to win the national Super league.
According to an official of Nigerian Hockey Federation (NHF) who does not want to be named, Nigeria stand to be banned and fined by the IHF through the African Hockey Federation. “If a Nigerian team fail to participate in the ACCC, the African Hockey Federation would fine Nigeria up to N5 million and ban the country.
“The NHF would in turn fine Kaduna state N5 million and ban the state from taking part in all hockey tournaments in the country including the super leagues, the National Sports Festival and the National Youth Games.”
Both Kaduna state teams currently enjoy rich veins of form and are favourites to win the ACCC, having just emerged winners of the male and female gold medals at National Sports Festival in Abuja without losing a match.
Blueprint sports learnt that paucity of funds was behind Kaduna state government’s decision not to partake in the ACCC. Efforts to confirm from the state Director of Sports, Yakubu Ibrahim was futile as he declined comments.