Other NewsSA Women for Road to Paris semi-finals
─── 07:52 Tue, 31 Oct 2023
“I think we didn’t play as well as we can. The conditions might have made things difficult for us, but technically we played below our level today and we will look to fix that for the semi-final.”
The group stages have one day remaining at the African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifier in Pretoria, but the picture of who will contend the semi-finals has started becoming clearer as some teams secured their spots while others put one foot in the final four.
In the women’s tournament Kenya secured their spot in the final four with a thrilling win over their old rivals and higher ranked opponents Ghana. Having started the day ranked 3 spots lower in the World Rankings Kenya were hoping for a perfect performance and they found the perfect start leading 2-0 at the half time break through Eleanor Chebet and Grace Bwire. Mavis Berko pulled one back, before Maureen Okumu restored 3-1. A late Berko goal proved to be a consolation as Kenya secured the win and space in the final four.
Zambia defeated Namibia 3-2 which kept their hopes alive ahead of their final game in the pool stage with Ghana on Wednesday. Namibia is consigned to the 5-8 Playoff.
South Africa secured their place in the final four coming out on top of a bruising encounter against Nigeria. The South Africans toiled to create their opening coming up against an inspired goalkeeper Martha Uko.
The South African supremacy eventually told as Tarryn Lombard broke the deadlock and they quickly doubled when Bianca Wood slammed home a rebounded effort. The South Africans put the game beyond doubt when veteran Celia Seerane slotted home. The final gloss was added to the score line by a late Kristen Paton goal to secure South Africa’s place in the Semi-Final with a 4-0 win.
“I think we didn’t play as well as we can,” shared Giles Bonnet the SA Women’s Head Coach “the score line doesn’t worry me too much, I want to see the performance. The conditions might have made things difficult for us, but technically we played below our level today and we will look to fix that for the semi-final.”
The South African result means that Nigeria and Zimbabwe will face off on Wednesday in a match to determine the second semi-finalist from Pool A.
In the men’s tournament Egypt were the first team to put their name on the Semi-Final list having secured a 1-0 win over Ghana. Mostafa Ragab scored in the 9th minute and Egypt held on despite some great pressure from the Ghanaians.
Kenya will have an opportunity to qualify for the semi-finals on Wednesday when they play Ghana having scored a late penalty stroke to douse the fires of the Zambian challenge and end their chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympic Games
South Africa’s Hockey Men themselves put one foot into the semi-final with a challenging victory over Nigeria. In a battle of the penalty corner battery, it was the south Africans who came out on top. South Africa took a half-time lead 3-1 with two penalty corner goals (Guise-Brown and Sherwood) while Nigeria scored James Samaila fired through Anton van Loggerenberg in the SA Goal. The second half saw South Africa ramp home their advantage as the speed on the attack was too much for the Nigerians and the hosts romped to an 8-2 victory to all but mathematically secure top spot in the group.
“I think credit to Nigeria, they made it really tough in that first half,” shared Dayaan Cassiem “it was really difficult weather, and we really appreciate the support and are happy that we got the job done.”
Tuesday is a rest day in the tournament before the group stages complete on Wednesday.
Day 2 Results, Monday, African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifiers
Pool A – South Africa 4-0 Nigeria
Pool B – Kenya 3-2 Ghana
Pool B – Zambia 3-2 Namibia
Pool B – Kenya 1-0 Zambia
Pool B – Ghana 0-1 Egypt
Pool A – Uganda 0-0 Zimbabwe
Pool A – South Africa 8-2 Nigeria