Harare, 10 March 2023 – The Zimbabwe Women and Men’s Under 21 teams are due to kickstart their participation in the Under 21 Junior Africa Cup (JAC) in Ismail, Egypt, tomorrow (Sunday) thanks to the support from Stanbic Bank which sponsored air tickets for the two teams and their officials.
The 46-member delegation made up of 18 women and men’s players each and officials left for Egypt on Wednesday after the leading financial services institution secured their participation through the purchase of the air tickets.
The tournament runs from 12 March to 19 with Zimbabwe, South Africa, Egypt and Kenya all fielding women’s and men’s teams.
Hockey Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) President, Grant Campbell said the sponsorship of the air tickets by Stanbic Bank helped secure the participation of the two teams at the Junior Africa Cup.
Campbell said while several other sponsors chipped in, participants to the tournament needed to be confirmed much earlier by booking their flights and liaising with tournament organisers regarding their travel.
“We are indebted to Stanbic Bank who came to our rescue by buying air tickets for the travelling teams and in so doing helping us to meet the cutoff date for ensuring that the teams participated at the tournament. Stanbic bank are our major supporter by far and their purchase of air tickets eased our pressure and allowed us to fundraise for other expenses,” said Campbell.
He said once the air tickets were bought, the Fund-raising team then got off to their business buoyed by having ticked off the biggest financial hurdle in the process.
Campbell said the tournament was fundamental in the development of the junior teams into a competitive side as they would be competing with the continent’s top countries.
The two top teams per gender will qualify to the FIH Junior World Cup (JWC) Dec 2023 in Chile and Malaysia for women and men respectively.
“This tournament is a huge part of our quest to develop hockey especially the juniors who will feed into the senior teams. They get exposure to high level competitions and this augurs well for the preparations for Olympic Qualifiers as well,” said Campbell.
Stanbic Bank Head, Brand and Marketing, Palmer Mugavha said the institution was pleased to play a significant part in ensuring the team got to participate at the tournament.
“The bank has a passion for sponsoring sport as part of our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) pillars which include Health and sanitation and Education. We are now a major sponsor for Hockey Association of Zimbabwe for development of the sport in Zimbabwe and this is also primarily in part to how organized they are in the running the affairs of the sport,” said Mugavha.
He said to date, Stanbic bank was the main sponsor for the Zimbabwe Under 21 girls hockey team during the Junior World Cup in South Africa in 2021 as well as the All-Africa Games Central South Africa Qualifiers held here last year in which the Zimbabwean men’s and women’s senior teams completed a double by qualifying for the continental games in Ghana.
“Stanbic bank derives pleasure from contributing to the development of the sport and in this case hockey by propping up the careers of the players cognizant of the fact that this also strengthens the competitiveness of our national teams. We will not be deterred by the prevailing economic climate to play our part in supporting key national developments such as this one,” said Mugavha.