The Nigeria Hockey Federation (NHF) yesterday criticised the conversion of the hockey field at the National Stadium, Lagos, to astro-turf, saying it made the pitch lose its value.
The NHF Technical Director, Walter Imoedemhe, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said that the astro-turf pitch was not convenient for the hockey matches at the ongoing 18th National Sports Festival in Lagos.
Imoedemhe recalled that the pitch before its conversion to football astro-turf was good for hockey, stressing that the stadium management did not contact expert before the change.
"Lagos is the base of hockey players and still has lots of potential in the game but for now, the state lack good pitch for the game.
"This pitch that we are using for the sports festival is an astro-turf for football and not too good for hockey," he said
He then called on the Lagos State Government to ensure the construction of a natural hockey pitch, stressing that the state lacked befitting hockey pitch.
He noted that the essence of the sports festival for host state was to develop its facilities and discover athletes.
"The State Government should expedite action on the construction of a befitting hockey pitch in order to harness its future potential."
He assured that the NHF would discover talented players from the 22 male and female teams vying for honours at the sports fiesta.
"In fact, we have being able to discover some good talents for the national junior team and who will later represent the country in international competitions."
According to him, the federation will in 2013 embark on massive grassroots campaign of the game in secondary schools.