African Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: Ghana and Kenya grab wins on opening day

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Ghana’s female hockey team started well at the 2019 African Olympic qualifiers held in Stellenbosch, South Africa with a 3-1 victory over Zimbabwe. The West Africans who are the second best ranked team on the continent dictated and dominated the game from the onset till the final whistle.

Two goals inside the first quarter from Vivian Narkuoh and a brilliant effort later in the game courtesy Roberta Sarfo was enough to give the Ghanaians a well deserved victory.

Makhoka Grace was the sole scorer in the women’s second game as Kenya beat Namibia 1-0 to move into second place on the standings.

Ghana 3-1 Zimbabwe

Ghana (World Ranking: 32) got the tournament underway with a clash against Zimbabwe. The Ghanaians who came with the sole aim of dethroning South Africa and qualifying to the Olympics next summer got on to a good start. Ten minutes into the game and the West Africans were two goals up. Vivian Narkuoh broke the deadline in the 10th minute and added a second three minutes later. Ghana 2-0 up at the end of the first quarter.

Zimbabwe halved the deficit in the second quarter courtesy Mcdonald Sophie in the 21st minute. The two-goal lead was restored seven minutes into the third quarter. Roberta Sarfo with a great run down the left beating two defenders made it 3-1. The final quarter witnessed no goal as the game ended 3-1 in Ghana’s favor.

Namibia 0-1 Kenya

The women’s second game was a duel between Namibia and Kenya. Currently the third placed team on the continent, Kenya who won silver in the last edition knew they had to win to stand a chance of rubbing shoulders with South Africa and Ghana. Two quarters elapsed and the scoreline hadn’t changed.

The Namibian’s were the better side in the game and almost got an opener but their effort from the penalty corner going wide. The Southern Africa nation mounted more pressure on their Kenyan counterparts in the third quarter. It was Kenya who broke the deadlock surprisingly in the 44th minute. With just a minute to end the third quarter, Makhoka Grace deflected a long pass into the scoring circle past Stoffberg Petro in post for Namibia.

Fifteen more minutes to be played but Makhoka’s goal was all the game could produce as the final whistle went – 1-0 in favor of Kenya.

The tournament continues on Tuesday 13th August, 2019 with Ghana facing Kenya in the first game. Host South Africa will let their first ever game at the tournament as they play Zimbabwe in the second game of the women’s category.

Source: isports360.com