Tuesday, June 18, 2024

South Africa secure berths at men and women Hockey World Cups

Favourites South Africa men were taken to the wire as they won their eighth Africa Cup of Nations in a row to book a return to Bhubaneswar at the 2023 World Cup. In a thrilling final, Egypt were great value as they took world No 11 South Africa to a shoot-out before losing out 3-1.

After Hampstead & Westminster hotshot Matt Guise-Brown had given South Africa the lead with a powerful dragflick, Egypt, the world No 21 side, levelled with a wonderful counter-attacking goal when Ziad Adel scored with a backhand chip from the baseline.

It was nip and tuck until the hooter before South Africa proved too good in the shoot-out, Bradley Sherwood netting the winning goal to become African champions.

“I’m shattered, that was too close,” said Gareth Ewing, the South Africa coach.

The last time Egypt toppled South Africa came in 1989. After six successive runners-up places, this perhaps was the closest they had come to reaching the World Cup.

In the men’s third-place match, Nigeria beat Kenya 4-2.

South Africa women, unbeaten since 1994 at the Nations Cup, claimed a berth at the 2022 World Cup this summer with a 3-1 victory over hosts Ghana.

Ghana took a sixth-minute lead through Elizabeth Opoku before the favourites fought back.

Charne Maddocks scored in the 15th minute, complemented by a penalty corner goals from Kristen Paton and penalty stroke from Lilian du Plessis five minutes from time.

Tarryn Glasby finished as tournament top scorer for South Africa with nine goals.

Kenya beat Zimbabwe 3-1 in a shoot-out to claim third place.

Meanwhile, there are other World Cup places on offer over the next week, with the Pan American Cups currently taking place in Santiago, Chile from Jan 19-30.

At stake are three qualification spots at the Women’s World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands later this year.

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