London - "Great Britain Hockey (GBH), the
organiser of the Investec London Cup, offers a full and unreserved
apology to the South African women's hockey team and their supporters
for mistakenly playing the wrong national anthem before South Africa's
match with Great Britain on Tuesday," GBH chief executive Sally Munday
said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The error was made by a contractor responsible for sports presentation at the event."
Munday said it was standard procedure to check anthems with visiting teams in advance.
"However, on this occasion that did not happen and Great Britain Hockey accepts full responsibility," she said.
Britain Hockey and its contractor appreciate the sensitive nature of
this unfortunate mistake and we apologise unreservedly for the offence
"The correct anthem will be played before all of South
Africa's remaining matches, beginning with the team's second fixture
against Germany on Wednesday evening."
Marissa Langeni, chief
executive of the SA Hockey Association, was furious with the blunder
after a version of the apartheid-era anthem, "Die Stem", was played
before their opening match.
"As far as I'm concerned, that was the full version of 'Die Stem', from start to finish," Langeni said.
"I was so shocked I could not even watch the rest [of the game]."
team manager Les Galloway agreed the anthem was not "Nkosi Sikelel'
iAfrika", she said the team had initially decided not to take action as
she was not sure if the entire version of the old anthem had been
Regardless of what rendition it was, however, Langeni said it was not the correct version, and they had demanded an apology.
"Normally anthems are pre-loaded by the host organisers," Langeni said.
know which way to fly the flag and which anthem should be played, and
the International Hockey Federation actually has a library with all the
anthems, which have been approved.
"If the organisers are not sure, they will ask the visiting federation to bring their own recording, so there's no excuse."
Africa, ranked 12th in the world, were seemingly undeterred and stunned
Great Britain, rated fourth, with a 3-1 victory in their opening match
of the tournament.