Wed | Oct 4, 2023

Tight final stretch for Hockey 5’s qualifiers in Ja

Published:Thursday | June 1, 2023 | 12:27 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Mona Hockey Field.
Mona Hockey Field.

JAMAICA HOCKEY Federation(JHF) president Fabian Stewart says that despite challenges in acquiring funding, they are determined to operate with what they have to execute the Hockey 5’s World Cup Qualifiers, which start this Sunday at the Mona Hockey Field.

Jamaica was awarded hosting rights to the tournament and will hope to secure qualification for next year’s World Cup.

To execute the tournament the JHF wants, Stewart said that it had to reduce its budget from what was ideal but is optimistic about settling all outstanding issues with three days to go.

“We have to modify a lot of our preparation because of cash flow. We are trying to finalise our preparations. I would say we are 60 per cent to 70 per cent where we ought to be in terms of finalising the preparations for the tournament. But we will complete everything by Sunday,” Stewart told The Gleaner.

While the JHF has received support from the Ministry of Sport as well as the Sports Development Foundation and other sponsors, Stewart said the organisation needed more from major corporate partners.

“We are running at a deficit, definitely for the type of tournament that we are going to have. But we have received sponsorship. We also have a lot of small partners coming to the table. We are picking up people who are partnering with us. But in terms of the major corporate sponsors, we don’t have a lot,” Stewart said.

“But we are working to secure as much funding from the sponsors as possible because we do know that there are some outstanding items in terms of getting those fully financed to have a really good tournament.”

Stewart quoted a modified $30-million budget to execute the event, a figure that he says the JHF was working hard to close having reached more than half of their target.

With Jamaica’s men’s and women’s teams getting their first opportunity at qualifying for a major tournament in this variant of the game, Stewart outlined the benefits and importance that hosting the tournament would have in getting Jamaica to the next level in the sport.

“What we want to do, and continue to do, is to allow the benefits from hosting to be certainly derived from the games but also the strategic development plans so people can see international hockey at a particular level, and youngsters can see it,” Stewart said.

“And they can work towards the level of hockey that will then take us and propel us in the region. And we are hopeful that Jamaica can qualify to step on to the world stage. It is the first opportunity of its kind for a local team.”