FIH have partnered with UK Sport, England Hockey and the African Hockey Federation to deliver an exciting four year expansion plan for hockey in West Africa – the first project of the FIH Hockey Targeted Assistance Programme.

Hockey TAP is part of the ‘Engage and Empower Programmes’ of the ‘Hockey Revolution’, the FIH`s new 10 year strategy for hockey. Hockey TAP brings together funding and delivery partners from the hockey family and beyond to maximise the impact, efficiency and sustainability of engagement projects.

At the end of 2014, representatives from FIH, UK Sport, England Hockey and the African Hockey Federation (AHF) met with the Ghana Hockey Association in the nation’s capital Accra. During the visit, the group also met with a number of different stakeholder groups including; officials, athletes, coaches, teachers and young players: and developed a four year assistance plan for hockey in West Africa which was put into operation in January 2015.

The plan includes providing hockey equipment (4,000 sticks, 4,000 balls and 20 goalkeeper kits to be distributed) and resources in schools and clubs across West Africa to recruit new players and the training of over 70 new coaches to support the recruitment. While at the other end of the spectrum ensuring the Ghana women’s national team receives high performance coaching and athlete support at FIH events such as the Hockey World League.

The partnership was formed following England Hockey’s successful bid to host the 2018 FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. As a legacy element of their bid, England Hockey secured a four year, international development partnership with UK Sport.

Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport said: “The UK is committed to playing its role as a strong and supportive member of the international sporting community through wonderful initiatives like Hockey TAP. Providing this kind of international development opportunity is now a key consideration for UK Sport when bidding for major sporting events and I am particularly pleased one of the key beneficiaries of this programme will be women’s hockey in Ghana.”

The Hockey TAP West Africa project will run through to 2018 but it has clear sustainability objectives that will encourage a long term twinning programme between Ghana Hockey and England Hockey.

England Hockey CEO Sally Munday said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for England Hockey to use the knowledge, experience and passion of our staff, volunteers, clubs and partners here in England to support the development of hockey within West Africa.”

The breadth and depth of the objectives and initiatives of the project have enthused FIH President, Leandro Negre who said: “Hockey TAP West Africa is a perfect example of the kind of partnerships hockey needs if we are to achieve our ambition – to raise the global status and popularity of hockey. The vision and professionalism of England Hockey and the generosity and belief of UK Sport has enabled a project that will have a significant impact on the expansion of hockey in West Africa.”

Source: FIH.CH

Photograph: EHF/ Frank Ujlenbroek