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When hockey is a family tradition

September 25, 2020

As a sport, hockey has a global family of supporters and volunteers. From people maintaining the grounds through to the administrators who ensure junior programmes, clubs, regional and national level hockey teams all run smoothly, ours is sport that relies on its volunteer army. 

The volunteers work tirelessly behind the scenes and rarely get the recognition they deserve. 

Which is why FIH is paying tribute to the hockey volunteers with a series of articles highlighting the work of just a few of these unsung heroes.

What do you do when your brother is better at a sport that you love than you are? You make sure you are involved in a different capacity.

This is the story of Louis Tengey, whose older brother Anthony, nicknamed 'Pozo', was a  member of the Ghana national hockey team that won the African Cup in 1974 and represented Africa at the World Cup in 1975. 

While Louis loved the sport, he acknowledged that he would not make the national team. However, as a volunteer Louis has enjoyed a lifelong and fulfilling involvement in the sport - at the national level he dreamt of.

The younger Tengey sibling's first move, in 1977, was to start a hockey team. Together with a group of hockey-loving friends, Louis collected sticks, balls and other equipment and launched a neighbourhood hockey team. It was called Pozo Sticks, in honour of his brother's achievements.

This team grew and eventually participated in the Greater Accra hockey league. 

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In 1993, Louis realised that to sustain the growth and interest in hockey in the neighbourhood he needed to start a development programme for boys and girls. In time, he had ambitions of running youth teams that would open up opportunities for the young players to compete. 

Louis was not a man to ignore his ambitions or put them to one side for later. In a short while the Hopefuls Youth team was formed, offering competitive hockey to the young players in his community. Louis thus became one of the pioneers of the now famous neighbourhood youth hockey development programmes that have sprung up in various parts of the country.

Louis himself took on the dual roles of team manager and coach. He used his personal resources and lobbied friends and relations to help provide kit and equipment for the team.

A few years earlier, in the 1989/90 season, Louis volunteered to become the groundsman/manager at the national hockey stadium. He saw to the mowing of the grass and marking the field and generally ensured that the facility was ready for hockey matches. 

Later in the 1990s he became involved in technical official duties and over time rose to become a nationally rated technical official. Louis officiated at several Africa Cup for Clubs competitions as a technical official and in 2007 he was a judge at the Africa Olympic Qualifier held in Nairobi Kenya. In 2012 he was also a technical officer at the U20 Africa Cup for Nations. 

Louis was also the Team Manager for the U20 National hockey team that participated in the Africa Cup for Club nations in 1984. 

Currently Louis is still working at the national hockey stadium and also assisting the Greater Accra Hockey Association to run its competitions.​

Volunteering and hockey administration runs in the family. Louis' mother, Madam Grace Aku Tengey was a successful entrepreneur and an ardent supporter of hockey. As a life patron of Pozo Sticks Hockey Club, she guided and financially supported her sons in managing the club. It is clear that her love of the game and her ability to run things smoothly was passed to her sons. 

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