The male and female team of South Africa beat host Egypt and Ghana in their respective finals to win the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations held in Ismalia, Egypt earlier today.
With the South Africa women already booking a place in next year’s Hockey Women’s World Cup in London after an impressive performance from the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, the men guaranteed their qualification for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 in India after their victory over Egypt.
South Africa stayed undefeated in the competition in both categories. The men won three games and played a draw with Egypt in the pool games with the women winning all games.
After beating Ghana 3–0 a day before in a match tagged ‘a final before the final’, South Africa were eager to do the double.
Ranked 13th in the FIH Hero World Rankings, South Africa played their usual attacking game but Ghana’s defence stood out until the 19th minute when Davids Illse broke the deadlock to put South Africa in front. Lillian du Plessis increased the tally from a penalty corner just before half-time to put her team 2 goals up.
Tarryn Glasby put the Champions in a comfortable 3-0 lead with a well-taken goal in the 29th minute before scoring again in the 47th minute to register her brace and South Africa’s fourth. Dirkie Chamberlain, who didn’t score in the final, emerged tournament top scorer with eight goals.
South Africa’s win at the Suez Canal Authority Hockey Stadium earlier today meant they have won the last seven Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Ghana’s female Black Sticks (World Ranking 32) picked up silver to also make it five in a row since 2005.
Nigeria’s female team (WR:62) after beating highly ranked opponents, Kenya (WR:42) on shoot-out, went home with the bronze medal. The match produced six goals within regulation time. Okumu (24th min), Vodoti (39th min) and Karanja (52nd min) scored for Kenya with Uwuoezi (20th min), Ovo (44th min) and Johnson (46th min) getting the Goals for Nigeria to make it 3-3. Goals from Beauty Irame and Eleho Ovo during the shoot-out meant Nigeria beat Kenya.
The men’s final was a close-fought contest between Egypt and South Africa.
In an earlier encounter in this competition, Egypt (WR:19) held South Africa (WR:15) to a 3-3 draw and were very optimistic of beating their southern rivals this time around. For South Africa men, this was an opportunity to win their eighth consecutive title at this event.
Egypt started on a bright note when Ahmed Elganaini put them ahead in the 8th minute but Taine Paton restored parity for South Africa in the 39th minute.
The game was approaching a shoot-out until Jethro Eustice drove home a penalty corner in the 48th minute to silence the entire stadium.
The last 2 minutes saw Egypt throw everything at South Africa but in the end, the champions prevailed and will be on their way to India next year while Egypt will be disappointed for not making it to Bhubaneswar.
Ghana (WR: 36) engaged Kenya (WR: 37) in the bronze medal match of the men’s category. A high scoring match saw Ghana beat their close rivals by 5-3 to win the bronze medal for the fourth time after missing out in 2013 and 2015.
Constant Wakhura put the Kenyans ahead in the 17th minute. Ghana who had beaten Kenya 3-0 in a pool game earlier, came alive and scored five goals, with Francis Tettey, a brace from Elikem Akaba, Luke Damalie and Emmanual Ankomah all getting on the score sheet. Festus Onyango and Kennedy Munialo scored a goal each to reduce the deficit for the Kenyans but it was too late at the blast of the final whistle.
- South Africa (Gold)
- Ghana (Silver)
- Nigeria (Bronze)
- South Africa ( Gold)
- Egypt (Silver)
- Ghana (Bronze)