The game of hockey which has the potential to be among the top five sports in country has continue to struggle to gain its place in heart of Nigerians unlike football that enjoys wide coverage from every nook and cranny of the country and talked about as well. Many Nigerians and Africans always if asked about the game will tell you, they don’t know about it. Even myself have witnessed Hockey played in real life twice and I believe the industry has the potential to take many youths out of the street to make their life more meaningful as well contribute to economy if there can be sponsors of the game. Hockey league exist in Nigeria even though many people don’t know about it and it is not reported at all on the media accept on major occasions like the finals. In this post, I will take a look at the female and male Hockey league and the need for more exposure of the sport in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.
The women version of the game is structure differently. The male teams play in a league, the women teams’ plays at their different regions where champions from these regional leagues proceed to the finals of the National Hockey Super League tournament to determine the winner. Kada Queens were crowned the 2018 champions for the 4th consecutive time in a tournament after defeating Delta Queens of Asaba 2-0. Before the finals, Kada Queens went undefeated to come top in the round robbin league to qualify.`Women hockey seems to be more popular than its men's counterpart. Though not too sure of this statistics but I can say, l have heard more of women league than the men's may be because its more of regional tournament where states have to promote their own. There are many athletic ladies ladies in Nigeria that can take their international colleagues on a good day if exposed to the same training facility.
The sport is very popular in the northern than in the southern part of the country. Niger state remains the only state with huge followers of hockey game due to the dominance of the state sponsored hockey team; Niger Flicker in the league. Niger Flickers who has won the previous three consecutive editions in 2015, 2016 and 2017 but were dethrone by Kada Stars of Kaduna in a keenly contested finals where it ended in a 1-1 draw at the end of the regulation time. The two teams which finished top with no defeat in the league had to proceed to a penalty shootout where Kada Stars lifted the 2018 National Hockey Super League in a 2-1 after six rounds of penalty at the Hockey pitch of the National stadium, Abuja. The former state governor is to be thanked for this sport because he is fan of hockey and when he became governor had to develop the sport to national recognition. If other state governors, organisation and individual can emulate governor Aliyu, l bet you hockey will attract global attention in the next 5-7 years.
With African cup of clubs championship coming up later in the month, the both teams will fly the Nigeria colour at the tournament which is holding in Abuja, Nigeria. I call of individuals and organisation with passion for Hockey to look the way of Africa to better develop the game like other sports in the continent.