SA hockey pleads for sponsors
Johannesburg - Dave Carr, the president of the SA Hockey Association (Saha), has made a plea to potential sponsors to come forward and back the national men's side.
"As we all know, South African men's hockey does not have a sponsor," Carr said after the victorious men's side returned from the Olympic qualifying tournament in Kakamigahara, Japan, on Tuesday.
"It's vital that we try and find someone. Its not through a lack of trying... there is nothing [out] there."
Carr congratulated the team on qualifying for the London Games by beating the hosts 2-1 in the final on Sunday and lauded the players for booking their place in the SA Olympic team despite a lack of funding.
"If you take into consideration the preparation they've had, it can go down in the books as a record for the players," Carr said.
"Over the last three years, the team has played 37 internationals, where other countries have played 37 internationals in the period of six months.
"I think that is testimony to the quality of the team which we've got and what the coaching staff have done."
Carr, whose term as Saha president comes to an end before the London Games, pointed out the lack of training the men's team have had, especially with regard to specialised training camps.
"The men in the last three years have had four training camps," Carr said.
"If you look at what other sports do, with training camps on a regular basis, again it's a fantastic achievement.
"Japan were in a training camp for seven months prior to this tournament, whereas our team assembled in Japan for the first time as players were based in Europe and in SA."
Carr thanked the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) for sponsoring the team's flights to Japan, as well as Saha chief executive Marissa Langeni for her efforts in securing funding.
"She [Langeni] has worked tirelessly over the last couple of months trying to find funding, making ways and means to get the team right," he said.
"It's pleasing to know that after Sunday's result, I've received two phone calls from people who are interested in sponsoring and Marissa received a call from another interested company.
"Let's just hope it's not just talk, and the people put their money where their mouths are."