Dear all, the 13th African Games is ongoing in Ghana. Good things are happening as well as shocking news. The new sad event according to that today 18th March 2024 barely 10 hours ago, South Africa withdrew from the African Games hockey due to substandard facilities and ill-prepared hosts.

This action encompasses both its men’s and women’s hockey teams from the 13th African Games currently underway in Accra based on recommendations and guidelines as set down by the International Hockey Federation.

The decision was taken as a result of the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Pitch not being sufficiently prepared to stage the competition. The Local Organising Committee (LOC) and African Hockey Federation have been informed of the decision taken by Team SA.

According to South Africa’s Olympic governing body, SASOC, “despite repeated assurances that the pitches would be ready for international-standard competition, the pitches are unsuitable.”

Further, a statement from the organization issued on Monday says it has communicated its reasons for leaving Ghana to the Local Organizing Committee (LOC).

“In correspondence sent to the LOC, Team SA team leader Ms. Patience Shikwambana states: “Over and above making this decision, our SA Hockey Federation consulted with Sports Flooring Warehouse, a South African-based specialist in carpet laying, and an FIH recognized service provider. They have also advised us – having analyzed the images we shared with them – that the field is not satisfactory and may cause harm to the athletes.”

Ms. Shikwambana also noted: “The rescheduling of the hockey competition, on three numerous occasions has, in addition, caused an inconvenience to us logistically, as a team, where we had to arrange for both the teams to fly to Ghana in time for the commencement of the competition.

“In the first Chef De Missions’ site visit meeting at the end of October 2023, we were advised that there would be test events to ensure the readiness of venues before the start of each competition. This, unfortunately, has not been the case for Hockey. In addition, according to the FIH field certification guideline, ‘If a field that is not certified is being considered as a tournament venue, it should be tested at the earliest convenience to demonstrate compliance with this specification’.

“These tests should be conducted months in advance before a competition – which, in this case, have not taken place. Furthermore, ‘The FIH has several accredited test institutes, and these have accredited engineers located around the world’, which we are not certain if they have been involved and provided the necessary certification.’

South Africa has already qualified both men’s and women’s hockey teams for the 2024 Paris Olympics, and with the African Games being held near Paris, it was deemed a potential injury risk if Team SA competed under the circumstances in Accra.

Therefore, for the interest and the progress of Ghana, we urge H. E. President Akufo-Addo to sack Mustapha Ussif, the sports minister for disgracing Ghana. The above statement is shameful to every Ghanaian and posterity will not forgive us. This would have a continental effect on Ghana.


William Boadi
Executive Director of (EAI), Educationist, Political analyst, and Social Worker.

EAI: Promoting Quality Education, and Ensuring Social Worker.