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Author Name: Suleiman Nasiru
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President Goodluck Jonathan National Hockey Super League a success, says Ningi
Author: Suleiman Nasiru | September 07, 2014

The President of the Nigeria Hockey Federation, Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi has described as successful the just concluded President Goodluck Jonathan National Hockey Super League, which took place at the hockey pitch of the Murtala Mohammed Square, Kaduna. Speaking to sports journalists at the venue of the championship immediately after the final match between Union Bank of Nigeria and the Police machine, Ningi attributed the success recorded in the championship to the support the Federation received from the Presidency, Kaduna state government and the National Sports Commission. He said this championship is the foundation of moving the game of hockey forward. Explaining that in the last 10 years he has not seen a hockey championship that witness a large turnout like this super league, especially the ex-international from across the globe who showed interest and support for the game and some are even physically presence at the venue of the championship. Ningi however said the success recorded came with some challenges like shortage of facilities, technical problems which is attributed to the lack of exposure on the parts of the match officials who for a very long time have not participated in international competitions among many others. He further said that the game of hockey belongs to the youth and that was evidenced in the number of youth that participated in the just concluded championship, where the larger percentage of the athletes who took part in the competitions is youth including the match officials. He urged other stakeholders in the game to give youth the chance to participate in the game of hockey. He said sport is a serious national endeavor employed as a strong tool for national cohesion, international public relations and diplomacy. He said this is why the Nigeria Hockey Federation is working round the clock to bring back the lost glory of the game of hockey in Nigeria. Speaking earlier, the Vice President of the Nigeria Hockey Federation, Honourable Megwa Godwin said, they have started a process leading them to their destination as a federation. Saying he was impressed with what he saw and expressed confidence if this effort is sustained, the game of hockey would get back to its desired place. He said despite this success, there are a number of challenges facing the game of hockey, ranging from financial challenges, lack of support and sponsorship among many others. He said this led to about 5 frontline teams not taking part in the just concluded championship. And this he said is as a result of the lacuna that was created by the unnecessary break witness in the game of hockey in Nigeria. Union Bank of Nigeria Hockey team played the final match against the Police Machine in the male category while Imo Heartland Flickers took on the Plateau Queens in the female final. Union Bank emerged winners of the male events, they beat the Police Machine by a lone goal and the Imo Heartland Flickers defeated the Plateau Queens 4-2 to emerged winners of the female category. A total number of 164 goals were scored in 45 matches of the Super League. Union Bank who emerged champions was the highest scoring side for male with a total number of goals 21 and conceding only 2 goals. Also the Imo Heartland Flickers a female side scored 21 goals and conceded 3 goals. The Benue Alpha Flickers are the wiping boys of the championship conceding a total of 18 goals and scoring 2, followed by the Bauchi flickers who conceded 13 goals without scoring a goal, while the female team of Bauchi flickers conceded 14 goals without scoring any. Speaking during the closing ceremony of the championship, President Goodluck Jonathan said as a matter of policy, his government would continue to support sports in the country as a means of using sports to achieve national development. He called on the private sector to partner with government in this task of achieving these lofty goals. The president who was represented by the Vice President architect Mohammed Namadi Sambo said the government has taking sports as a top priority area in the transformation agenda of the government. He further said sports asides its recreation benefits it serves as a tool of social mobilization, a mechanism of youth empowerment, promote peace and peaceful coexistence and bring love and understanding. He urged the athletes to always show the spirit of sportsmanship whenever they are competing for glory and also be good ambassadors of the country wherever they found themselves representing the country.

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