The National Male and Female Hockey Teams of Ghana on Sunday 11th September 2016 both booked tickets to the 2nd Round of the Hockey World League Series.
The Female team played Kenya in the morning of the Sunday the 9th, and needed a win to qualify, having beating Nigeria earlier in the tournament by 2 goals to nothing. As Kenya is ranked directly behind Ghana, it was sure to be a tough one, and indeed did not disappoint.
The Ghanaian ladies started threatening the goal of their Kenyan counterparts early in the game and came very close on numerous occasions to scoring. The game however stayed barren for the most part, creating a very charged and restless atmosphere in the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium.
The ladies finally put everybody to rest when Richel Bamfo received a ball and tore past the goalkeeper and an incoming defender to guide the ball into the post in the dying minutes of the game. The ladies had one task after this; to hold on to the lead and that they did to the admiration and excitement of all.
With this result, the National Women’s team secured the single slot available to the 2nd round to take place in Spain in February of 2017.
In the Men’s game which was the last of the day and for the tournament, Ghana only had to manage a draw to secure their place in the 2nd round as they had beaten Namibia 7 – 1 and their arch rivals Kenya by a lone goal earlier in the tournament.
This task that looked very doable in the beginning considering Ghana’s play throughout the tournament, would soon be put in doubt as Nigeria drew first blood about halfway through the first half.
It was not until the dying minutes of the game that the Ghanaian team equalized through Emmanuel Ankomah (One Finger). Even though this gave the many Ghanaian supporters some kind of comfort, it was not until Shadrack Baah connected a brilliant pass from Michael Baiden, the Ghanaian International based in South Africa to secure the win, did the fans really breath a sigh of relief.
Managing to secure this result meant that the male team would join their female counterparts who had qualified earlier in the day, in the 2nd round of the World League Series to take place in Bangladesh in February.
We are so proud of our men and women and wish them the best in their preparations towards to the 2nd round of the competition.
Daniel Kenaz Mensah