World Cup berths are up for grabs this month as Pan American and African nations battle for places in the men’s and women’s showpiece tournament.
The Africa Cup of Nations is being held in Accra, Ghana from Jan 17-23, while the Pan American Cups are taking place in Santiago, Chile from Jan 19-30.
The tournaments are the first major events in a busy 2022 calendar after the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup was cancelled due to Covid-19.
At stake at the Pan Americans are three qualification spots at the FIH Women’s World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands later this year while, for the men, a top two finish will ensure a place at the FIH OdishaMen’s World Cup, Bhuabneswar and Rourkela, taking place in 2023.
In the women’s competition, the team to beat will again be all conquering Argentina. Las Leonas have not been beaten since its inception in 2001. In the last edition, which took place in 2017 in Lancaster USA, Argentina convincingly beat Chile.
Argentina will be without the talents of one of their leadership team, Delfina Merino, who is recovering from illness. On the back of Noel Barrionuevo’s retirement, the young Lionesses, such as Agustina Gorzelany, Agustina Albertarrio and Valentina Raposo will need to step up into some big shoes.
It is a challenge that Gorzelany is looking forward to. She told PanAm hockey: “It is always an honor to be back representing my country in an international competition. The World Cup is the most important event this year, so, of course, it is important that we qualify.
“I think the team is really ready for this. There is a lot of energy and, with a new coach [Fernando Ferrara], we are trying new things. he makes things very clear about what he wants to happen on the pitch. I think it is going to be a great year for Las Leonas.”
Joining world No 3 Argentina will be Canada, USA, Chile, Uruguay, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago.
Eight teams line up to contest the men’s competition; Argentina, Canada, Chile, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Peru.
It’s a welcome return to international hockey competition for seven men’s teams and eight women’s teams at the Men’s and Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
In the men’s competition South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria and Uganda.
The women’s competition sees South Africa face opposition from Ghana, Kenya, Namibia , Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Zambia and Uganda. The winning team will secure a place at the World Cups.
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