The South African Hockey Association will still try and host the Indoor Africa Cup at the end of September following the easing of lockdown regulations over the weekend.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday announced that all gatherings will be limited to 50 people, while spectators will not be allowed at sporting events.
With indoor hockey squads consisting of 12 players, it would be possible to stay within the 50-mark limit, the website mycomlink.co.za reported on Sunday.
“Following the President’s announcement last night that professional sport is allowed to continue without spectators, the South African Hockey Association is sticking to their plan of trying to host the African Indoor tournament scheduled for the last week of September at Ashton College,” it said.
It, however, questioned whether government protocols would allow for Namibia and Zimbabwe’s national teams to arrive in South Africa and quarantine in time to be able to participate, saying that only time will tell.
“Hockey South Africa will make an official announcement early in September to whether this event will be allowed to continue,” it said.
The Indoor Africa Cup, which is a qualifier for next year’s Indoor World Cup, was originally supposed to take place in Durban in June, but was recently postponed to 25-27 September at Ballito, about 50km north of Durban.
The winning men and women’s teams at the Indoor Africa Cup will qualify for the 2021 Indoor World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in Liege, Belgium from 3 to 7 February 2021.
However, if the Indoor Africa Cup cannot be held due to Covid-19, the current indoor world rankings will be used to determine the winners and in that case, Namibia’s women and South Africa’s men’s team will qualify for the World Cup.
Namibia’s women are currently the top ranked African nation with a world ranking of 11, while South Africa are ranked 16th and Zimbabwe 33rd.
Amongst the men, South Africa lead the way with a world ranking of 11th, followed by Namibia at 17th and Zimbabwe at 23rd.
The Africa Hockey Federation recently also announced the rescheduling of several other African tournaments that had to be postponed due to Covid-19.
Three regional qualifying tournaments will be held for next year’s outdoor Africa Cup of Nations tournament for men and women.
The North East Africa qualifier will be held in Nairobi, Kenya from 18 to 24 January 2021, while the North West Africa Qualifier will be held in Accra, Ghana from 15 to 21 February 2021.
The Central South Africa qualifier will be held in Harare, Zimbabwe from 19 to 27 February next year, with Namibia due to compete here along with Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The top two teams at each regional tournament will qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations along with South Africa and Egypt who automatically qualify as the two top ranked teams in Africa amongst the men, and South Africa and Ghana amongst the women.
The Junior Africa Cup has also been rescheduled and will now take place in Accra, Ghana from 22 to 28 March 2021.