'SA hockey is dead'

OWN CORRESPONDENT, Cape Town | Thursday 1.30pm.

WENDELL Domingo, manager of the South African men’s hockey team barred from Olympic competition by the National Olympic Commission of South Africa, says that “because of Nocsa, hockey in this country is dead.”

The Cape Argus reported on Thursday that at least six players are considering quitting the team, with Domingo saying that it will take R2-million to finance another team and train them to the same level as the side that was excluded from the Games because they are not “representative” enough.

The team, current African champions, are also not considered good enough to attain a place in the top-nine at Sydney, despite competing successfully against strong opposition, such as Australia.

Domingo added that “this side is the best assembled and experienced men’s team SA Hockey has ever had.”

Domingo is positive that the players who are contemplating quitting the side will continue to play hockey at provincial and club level.

Domingo took a strong stance against Nocsa’s decision, which he perceives as short-sighted, and said that barring the team will impact negatively on the growth of hockey in the country.

According to Domingo, hockey players have no reason to continue putting time and effort into the sport because “there is no money in it, the only reward is the Olympics which has been taken away.”

Domingo also says that he doubts Nocsa will send a hockey team to the 2004 Olympics as they refused to let a vastly experienced team compete this year.

Brian Myburgh, a regular in the team with 130 international caps, says that children from disadvanaged communities will not take up hockey over sports such as soccer or rugby as there is no incentive without the prospect of competing at the Olympic Games.

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