South Africa men’s and women’s hockey teams qualify for London 2012 Olympics

South Africa men produced a good performance to outwit their old foes Egypt 1-0 in a tightly contested final match at the African Olympic Qualifier in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on Sunday. The only goal of the game arrived in the 37th minute from open play when captain Wade Paton connected from close range. The loss was heartbreaking for Egypt, and left many of the players weeping uncontrollably.  

The South Africa women’s team also underlined their total dominance on the African continent with a superb 5-0 thrashing of Kenya without breaking a sweat. The Kenyans were no match for the swift and nippy Southerners who swept aside all opposition throughout the competition. The South Africans were streets ahead of the field and at times just slowed down the game to accommodate their opponents. 

A happy Dave Carr, president of South African Hockey expressed his joy at the results and indicated that the teams will continue with their preparations for the London 2012 event. 

Ghana take double bronze

It was a wonderful weekend for Ghana, with their men’s and women’s teams taking the Bronze medals at the event. 

The Ghana men’s team saved their best game for last when they took apart the enterprising Kenyan team 5-1 in a thrilling encounter. Ghana started the game in an aggressive fashion they have not shown through this competition and won virtually all 50-50 balls right from the start. The team seemed to do no wrong as they intercepted Kenyan passes and capitalized on defensive lapses to take an unassailable 5-0 lead at half-time with goals through Joe Appiah, Johnny Botsio (2), Richard Adjei and Benedict Sam. The scoreline surprised everybody as most people expected a very close encounter based on the near par standard of the two teams. 

On resumption, the Ghanaians withdrew into defense and invited the Kenyans to attack which they did. They were however contained beautifully with the Ghanaians trying to catch them on the counter-attack. The cagey encounter played out for a greater part of the second half until one moment of bad decision by Ghanaian goalie Opoku Danso who charged down a Kenyan player who posed little danger to his goal offered the Kenyans a lifeline from the penalty spot. Play maker Zak Aura’s push appeared to have been saved but rolled gently over the line to the dismay of goalie Danso. The game from thence continued to swing from one end to the other with the crowd enjoying every move.
Ghana held on to the end to claim the Bronze medal with a final score of 5-1.

On Saturday, Ghana’s women overcame host nation Zimbabwe on penalties in front of a sell-out crowd. It was the Ghanaians who took the lead on the stroke of half time when captain Pam Condobrey rocked the backboard from a well taken penalty corner. However,  Zimbabwe were not overawed on the occasion and with the packed stadium screaming they lifted their game and pressurized the Ghana defence. The pressure told when Ghana conceded a penalty stroke, which was beautifully converted by Mutembwa Mutsawashe in the 51st minute. The game then became a see-saw affair with both teams failing to break the deadlock before the end of normal time.

Extra time was played with neither of the teams getting the golden goal and thus resulted in the new penalty shoot-out competition which offered some great excitement to the capacity crowd. In the end, Ghana’s goalie Grace Mensah stood tall to deny Zimbabwe the bronze medal in front of the home crowd.

Full results from the tournament can be found below. 

Source Material: African Hockey Federation Media Release. 

Fixtures / Results 

02 September 2011
Men: Sth Africa 18 – 0  Morocco        
Men: Ghana 2 – 2  Kenya          
Men: Egypt  5 – 0  Zimbabwe       

03 September 2011
Women: Sth Africa 9- 0 Kenya
Women: Ghana 0 – 0 Zimbabwe

04 September 2011
Men: Morocco 0 – 6 Ghana          
Men: Egypt 3 – 3 Kenya           
Men: South Africa 10 – 0  South Africa  

05 September 2011
Women: Ghana 0 – 3 Sth Africa
Women: Kenya 2 – 0 Zimbabwe
Men: Morocco 1 – 6  Egypt
Men: Ghana 0 – 4  South Africa 
Men: Kenya 4 – 0  Zimbabwe   

06 September 2011

07 September 2011
Men: Kenya 12 – 1  Morocco 
Men: Zimbabwe  0 – 6  Ghana  
Men: Egypt 2 – 2  South Africa 

08 September 2011
Women: Kenya 1-1 Ghana
Women: Sth Africa 7-0 Zimbabwe

09 September 2011
Men: South Africa 8-3 Kenya 
Men: Ghana 2-2 Egypt 
Men: Zimbabwe v Morocco  

10 September 2011
Men: 5/6 Play-Off  – Zimbabwe v Morocco – DNP
Women: 3/4 Play-Off – Zimbabwe 1-1 Ghana (Ghana won on penalties)  

11 September 2011
Men: 3/4 – Ghana 5-1 Kenya
Women: Final – South Africa 5-0 Kenya
Men: Final – South Africa 1-0 Egypt