Ghana’s high hope of picking Africa’s sole ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games suffered a major setback as the national male hockey team was handed a crushing 9-1 defeat at the hands of South Africa at the African qualifiers played at the University of Stellenbosch Hockey Stadium late on Thursday August 15.
The South Africans have often been a bogey side for the Ghanaians, but after two straight wins against Kenya and Namibia, Ghana was determined to break that stranglehold on them. However, their opponents were too strong and handed Coach Ebenezer Frimpong’s side a humiliating defeat and put their best foot forward to qualify for the summer Olympics.
Another strong candidate, Egypt, continued their winning ways with a 6-1 victory over Namibia.
In three games played so far, the free-scoring Egyptians have hit cricket scoreline, scoring 19 goals and conceding just three following a 6-0 drubbing of Zimbabwe and a 7-2 win against Kenya. Thursday’s game provided the hosts another chance to extend their dominance over Ghana and also make a strong case to qualify for the Olympics.
They had earlier beaten Namibia 3-1 in their opening match and demolished Zimbabwe 9-0 to take their haul to 21 goals scored, with only two conceded.
Against Ghana , South Africa looked a well-drilled side as they scored three goals in the first quarter through Austin Smith. He was on target again in the second quarter to take his tally to four goals with Jethro Eustice and Tevin Kok scoring a brace each as the game wore on.
The hosts completed the rout as Nqobile Ntuli added this name to the score sheet with Ghana’s Ernest Opoku scoring the consolation goal for Ghana.
In the other match, the free scoring Egyptians who defeated Zimbabwe and Kenya 6-0 and 7-2, respectively, in their first two matches, added Namibia to their victims with a 6-1 victory yesterday to prove that they are one of the teams to beat in this tournament.
Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe came from behind to beat Kenya 3-2 to claim the maximum points in the other male division clash. It was double delight for Zimbabwe as their female team defeated Kenya 2-0 through goals by Jane Murago (14th minute of the third quarter) and Leah Omwandho (sixth minute of the last quarter).
Defending women’s champions, South Africa, defeated Namibia 5-0 to move on top of the table to six points, having earlier defeated Zimbabwe 2-0. Ghana follows in second place with four points from one victory and a draw.
Pix- Alfred Ntiamoah tackling an opponent from behind as he controls the ball during their match against South Africa yesterday