African nations to battle for two spots at Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics

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Olympic Youth Development Centre
Olympic Youth Development Centre

Five African nations are preparing to do battle at the continent’s Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic hockey qualifier with only two spots available for the Games.

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Tournament host nation Zambia – working under coach Nadeem Ahmed, as well as South Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe will all be aiming to book their place at the showpiece event, which will take place in the Chinese city on August 16 until 28.

Nigeria was also set to compete in the qualifiers but have since pulled out.

The girls and boys national youth hockey teams will compete on the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) pitch in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, from March 10 until the final on March 15.

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Clare Digby, development chair of the African Hockey Federation (AfHF), said the Youth Olympic Games qualifier will be a milestone in the promotion of hockey in Zambia, while Tayyab Ikram, an International Hockey Federation (FIH) development expert, added that the nation “is full of talent”.

“If they can focus on both the development and high performance side of the game they can be a serious contender among the African nations,” he said.

“The upcoming YOG qualifier will raise the profile of OYDC and will serve as a great incentive for the youth development programme.”

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