The much-anticipated FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup, presented by SPAR, was officially launched at Southern Sun Pretoria on Friday evening.
The opening ceremony was a celebration of indoor hockey in anticipation of the international and local talent that will be on display at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria from February 5 to 11.
Former South African international John McInroy and South African women’s legend Marsha Cox, the most capped South African of all time, hosted the evening as dignitaries, players, coaches, and officials gathered to mark the tournament as open.
SA Hockey president Deon Morgan encouraged all participants to embrace the moment, take in the experience and to create memories and relationships that will last for years.
A FIH executive board member, Morgan was grateful for the opportunity for the hosts to stage such a symbolic and historical event.
Those in attendance included SASCOC president Barry Hendricks, SA Hockey vice-president Lwandile Simelane, councilor for social development Tshwane Cindy Billson, former SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni and representatives of the sponsors.
The FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup is proudly presented by SPAR. Of the 14 nations competing across the 24 teams, SPAR operates in 11 of these countries.
SPAR managing director Jerome Jacobs spoke of their delight at being a sponsor of the tournament and the legacy that would be left by a tournament of this magnitude.
Following dinner, a panel discussion was held with 2015 FIH Indoor World Cup-winning captain and current Dutch head coach Robert Tigges, FIH director of sport & development Jon Wyatt and local organizing committee chairman Simon Martin. They discussed their love for indoor hockey, South Africa as a quality host for FIH events and their excitement at the tournament starting on Sunday.
FIH president Tayyab Ikram shared his excitement for the tournament. “I can’t wait for the action to start in Pretoria for the sixth FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup!” he said. “Indoor hockey has a very important place in global hockey and must be encouraged. A great thanks to the South African organisers and all the best to teams and officials.”
The action begins at 8.30am on Sunday morning when the SPAR South Africa women’s team take on Austria in what should be a scintillating start to the tournament
The games will be streamed on SABC Sport (on the SABC Plus website and app) and on the Watch Hockey app, while selected games will be available on SuperSport.
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