THE national women’s team has left for Ghana to participate in the Women’s Hockey Africa Cup tournament which kicks off on January 17.

The Floyd Chomba coached team is drawn in Group B with Kenya, Nigeria and the host nation, Ghana.

The ‘Golden Girls’, as they are fondly referred to, will begin their campaign against Kenya on January 17 before taking on Nigeria on the 18th and finish off with the host Ghana on the 20th.

Addressing journalists in Lusaka yesterday during the send off ceremony, National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) president Alfred Foloko said the tournament would be significant for the Commonwealth games slated this July.

“I want to thank the association for the work they have done in growing the sport in the country. This is a sport that us as NOCZ are looking at and making sure that we invest in the sport, and not only supporting it heroically but to place the resources at their disposal,” he said. “As National Olympic Committee we made sure that we camped the team at OYDC-ZAMBIA for two weeks and we want to thank the government through ministry of sport for making sure that the association meets it’s budget. We want to call upon all the stakeholders to continue supporting sports in the country. The significant of the tournament is, this will also set the tone for the hockey participation coming in the Birmingham games because the best ranked team in Ghana will be the ones that will take part in the last qualifiers.”

Coach Chomba said the team was ready for the tournament.

“We have been training for a while now, we need to go and win because we are looking for the best ranking. We know what is at stake as the technical bench and the players also know what is at stake,” said Chomba.

And national team vice-captain Martha Kalombo said the team was ready, further asking for prayers from all Zambians.

”So far so good, the trainings are going on well. The preparations have been okay and from the time we entered camp we had time to be together and understand each and every day,” said Kalombo.

“Being together in camp has helped us to have more confidence among ourselves as we are knowing each other more and more. And all we need is your support and prayers from the people back home. We all know what to do when we come for trainings and the team cohesion is slowly showing as we are going towards the tournament.”

The team has been pitted against ranked teams, with Ghana ranked second in Africa while Nigeria third and Kenya fourth; Zambia is ranked 8th.

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