Hockey

African Hockey Championship
Nigeria’s Women Team player using high pass during the Greenfields African Hockey Championships. Source: northcliffmelvilletimes.co.za

Hockey is a game played on the field or ice, where players hold sticks with a flat and rounded side to propel the spherical, hard and usually white ball with the aim of scoring a goal. An hockey team, like it is in football, is composed of eleven field players and a well protectively equipped goal keeper. A score is made when a ball is played within the circle, which marks the ground in front of a goal by an attacker and does not travel outside the circle before passing over the goal line. Hockey is usually low-scoring. In the game, players can not lift their stick over the head of another player, and cannot play with the back of the stick. Dangerous playing such as intentional raising of the ball is prohibited. Closely-fitting colored face masks and protective head covering which must be soft, or eye covering in form of a goggle is often worn.

The Hockey game, which had spread through the British empire largely due to activities of the British army had been introduced in Nigeria in 1928, four years after a Hockey Federation was formed to standardize the game internationally. In its cruder form the game was played in ancient Egypt. Hockey became regular feature in inter-house sport competitions of Kings’ College, Igbobi College and St. Gregory’s College, and with some army unit teams, friendly matches were being conducted. Lack of artificial hockey turfs has been reported as being responsible for the slow pace of the game in the country.