HISTORY OF FIELD HOCKEY IN NIGERIA
Field hockey reached its modern form in the 19th century as a game played between two teams of eleven players each. Teams compete on a standard 100 x 60 yard field and attempt to score goals by hitting a ball off the ground into a net guarded by the opposite team’s goalkeeper.
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 is considered one of the oldest games which have been in existence and played in Persia since 2000 BC. but the game spread through the British Empire because of the activities of the British army.
History has it that the name ‘hockey’ was derived from the French hockey or shepherd’s crook and it’s being referred to as the crooked stick which can be used to hit a small ball.
The loud field hockey association states that the origin of field hockey is related to the ancient tomb in the Nile Valley 4,000 years ago though some evidence shows that the ancient Greeks, Aztecs and Romans played similar forms of the game.
The first international hockey competition was played in the year 1877 with an already established first official league over a decade later and in the year 1928, the game was initiated in Nigeria four years after the hockey federation was formed to normalize the game internationally. The sports members were the British Empire inclusive of India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Austria, England, and other nations who recently considered the game to be truly a worldwide sport.
The game is termed to be complete with the hockey team comprising of eleven players which include five forwards, two backs, three halves as well as a well-equipped and guarded goalkeeper equitable to the football sport; the game team size and formation vary depending on the coaching statics and play level.
Nigeria practices and plays field hockey as well as other 70 plus nations around the globe; the popularity of ice hockey is yet to attain that height considering its laminations to ice.
The major difference between ice and field hockey is the device used in shooting the object, the nets and object itself, both have a common primary objective which is to shoot an object into the opponent’s net. History of Field Hockey in Nigeria
The Hockey sport in Nigeria is less patronized by the Nigerian teaming population of sports lovers, unlike the round-leather game. The sport is challenged with the poor sport-support facilities, sponsorship, positive competitions, and low standard training of the athletes, coaches, and referee.