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The Africa Cup of nations commenced gracefully today in Ismalia. The men’s category which had three matches fixed earlier, saw just two(2) after Zambia officially wrote to withdraw from the event.
The first match of the day was between the Black sticks of Ghana and their counterparts from Kenya. The pre-match predictions by fans across the continent purported that it was going to end in a close scoreline if not a draw. The last meeting of these teams was at the World Hockey League Round one series staged in Accra last year and Ghana won that game with a lone goal. The game started with a balanced press in the first 7 minutes of the game.
Akuamoah Micheal put the Ghanaians in front in the 8th minute. Team Ghana outplayed the Kenya’s after going up and through to the 2nd quarter. Damalie Luke increased the tally in the 2nd quarter through a beautifully converted penalty corner. Team Kenya created chances but failed to score as they ended the quarter down by 2 goals. Elikem Akaba deepened their woes by scoring Ghana’s 3rd in the third quarter. The defence of Kenya couldn’t afford to let in a 4th goal as well as their attack also not able to convert the few chances they created hence keeping the scoreline 3-0 in favour of Ghana.
In the 2nd game, Nigeria Men’s team suffered a 13-1 defeat at the hands of host nation Egypt. The Egyptians who are a more experience and better side after their participation in the World Hockey League Semi final took their counterparts by ease scoring 13 goals across 4 quarters with the Nigerians grabbing a consolation. The Egyptians who are poised in winning the ultimate left no stone unturned in their 1st game.
Egypt with their massive day 1 win sit top of the men’s table. Ghana follow in 2nd while Kenya and Nigeria follow in 3rd and 4th place respectively. South Africa who had their game cancelled with Zambia lie bottom.
By: DENNIS ABABIO JNR.