The head coach of the national male hockey team, Ebenezer Frimpong, says injuries to key players and the lack of competitions at the international level undermined Ghana’s quest to pick the sole ticket to represent Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
He explained to the Graphic Sports Online that his team lacked the needed international exposure to make them very competitive against some of the continent’s toughest sides during the recent qualifying tournament in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
“The players did their best during the tournament but it was not enough because injuries played a major role to undermine the performance of the team in our quest to pick the sole ticket to represent Africa in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
”Losing three players in the final 18-man squad was really difficult, especially where two of them got injured a day before the commencement of the tournament.
And during the tournament, four others also suffered injuries and this reduced our strength to compete favourably with our competitors,” explained the coach who identified injuries to players such as Emmanuel Ankomah, Jonny Botsio, Elorm Akaba, among others, depleted the team’s strength against very strong opponents.
Others such as Francis Tetteh, Michael Baiden, Charles Abbiw and Ernest Opoku were forced to play despite sustaining minor injuries during the competition because there were no players to replace them.
“History has proven that teams improve and do better if they get more competitions, but since 2017 after we lost 2-3 to South Africa during the Hockey Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt, we have not engaged in any international tournament until we went to South Africa to play in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games qualifier,” he lamented.