Financial woes continue to trouble South Africa hockey with the sport’s national body withdrawing from the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019.
An official source told us, that SA Hockey considered withdrawing from the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 due to fund crunch.
“No arrangements were made to cover the expenses of the training and tour,” the official source said.
This is not the first time South Africa has faced this issue, the team was forced to withdraw from competing at the Rio Olympics 2016, by their country’s Olympic committee (SASCOC) due to similar reasons.
At the 2018 men’s hockey World Cup in India too, the South African players paid from their own pockets, to be a part of the tournament.
South African Goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse, who has represented South Africa 140 times, confirmed that the issues facing the team are still being sorted.
“I was very much looking forward to the opportunity to play at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019. It’s sad, that we will not play such a great tournament,” Rassie said.
“The Azlan Shah tournament would have been a great preparation for the team ahead of the Olympic qualifier in India,” he said.
The two-time Olympian who has played three World Cups, and two Commonwealth games said, that the disappointment will not deter their focus for the bigger events lined up for later in the year.
“Defending the Africa Cup of Nations and the qualification tournament for the Olympics later in the year is more important in the bigger scheme of things,” Rassie said.
In absence of South Africa, World No. 21, Poland have agreed to fill in.