ZIMBABWE will host the men and women’s southern African qualifier for the 2021 Hockey Africa Cup of Nations at St Johns’ College in Harare from February 19 to 27. BY FREEMAN MAKOPA The men and women’s teams will face southern African countries in a competition in which the top two nations in each category will proceed to next year’s Cup of Nations finals. Hockey Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) secretary-general Sarah Bennett said although the COVID-19 outbreak affected their preparations, management did its best to keep the players in good shape. “We are ready to participate at the Central-South Africa Qualifiers for Africa Cup to be staged at St John's College from February 19-27 next year. Although COVID-19 has affected our preparations, our dedicated coaches and management have done well to keep the players fit but we have missed some time on the astro turf which is what the players need right now,” she said. Bennett said the association was looking forward to extending the game to high-density areas in order to groom coaches and officials. “We want to spread the game of hockey throughout Zimbabwe especially in the high-density and rural areas and ensure that we educate and support coaches, officials and umpires. We want to partner with corporates to assist our projects and the national teams,” she added. She added that the sport was in need of financial assistance.