THE Hockey Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) is optimistic of making it to next year’s Junior Women’s World Cup which will be held in neighbouring South Africa.
This is the first time the continent hosts the event with games taking place in Potchefstroom while the Junior Boys World Cup will be held in India.
With Africa now set to get an extra slot at the girls’ competition since South Africa qualify as hosts, Haz secretary-general Sarah Bennet is convinced Zimbabwe has a great chance at the qualifiers set to be held in September this year.
“For South Africa Hockey to be elected to host the FIH Ladies Junior World Cup, is a fantastic development, not only for South Africa Hockey, but Africa as a whole,” Bennett said.
Both of Zimbabwe’s boys and girls Under-21 squads are now in camp preparing for the two events but Haz is facing a challenge in finding suitable facilities for training.
“Unfortunately the cost of hiring facilities to facilitate this training is of great concern and may impact on preparation.
“The Sports and Recreation Commission and Sports ministry are aware of our challenges. We are also doing our best to utilise Khumalo Hockey Stadium in Bulawayo. We are also training at St Johns College, as Magamba Hockey Stadium in Harare is currently unplayable until a new turf is laid.”
Bennett is confiden, however, that all things being equal the young girls should be able to ensure Zimbabwe qualifies for a second straight time after reaching the 2016 World Cup in Chile.
“The ladies team qualified for the last Junior World Cup in 2016, which took place in Santiago in Chile,” she said.