SA hockey making strides — Saha president Carr

2008-01-23 00:00

THE president of the South African Hockey Association (Saha) Dave Carr, told The Witness yesterday that the sport is making steady progress in the country.

With the Five Nations Men’s Hockey Tournament currently under way at the North West University Potchefstroom campus and the Spar SA women’s side about to begin a tournament in Argentina, Saha have invested a considerable portion of their budget in attuning the SA men’s and women’s national teams for the upcoming Olympics.

“The cost to the country of the Five Nations is R750 000, which has partly been paid thanks to the National Lottery Board’s R4,5 million allocation to SA hockey,” Carr said. “It is important to remember, however, that this generous allocation … is not just for the senior national teams and neither can it be used for bloated administration costs, for example.

“The lottery board has given us strict guidelines on how the money can be utilised based on our presentation to them, and the auditor-general monitors very closely whether we adhere to those requirements,” he said.

As far as the SA Sports Council (Sascoc) feels about sending the teams to Beijing, Carr says it is a done deal if you “read between the lines”.

“If I were a gambler, I would say the teams will be going, as for the first time Sascoc have allocated R4 000 to each of the top 20 selected men and women to help cover their costs in this Olympic year.

“The selectors can drop players and bring in others if they see fit and this money has been allocated since last November … It would seem strange, too, if we were not going bearing in mind the lottery’s grant to us.”

Carr added that the SA men have attracted a team sponsor in the Resolution Group, the team now known as Resolution South Africa.

“Resolution have come on board initially for a year and … the likelihood of increased sponsorship from Resolution is a strong one.”

While the Resolution SA men have lost to world number four Spain and world number three the Netherlands in the Five Nations, coach Gregg Clark’s team are only ranked 13th, so for the SA men, it is as much a learning experience as anything else.

The Spar SA women have just come off a 3-0 series win over Ireland before heading to Argentina, the last two Test results being 1-0 and 0-0.

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