The South African men’s and women’s hockey teams return to the Randburg Hockey Stadium turf on Thursday with back-to-back matches in the 2015 Greenfields Africa Hockey Championships. The SA women face Kenya at 16:45 and the SA men tackle Namibia at 19:00. Both matches should result in comfortable wins for the South Africans and the emphasis will be on maintaining quality performances as this Rio 2016 Olympic Games Qualifier event heads towards the make-or-break contests over the weekend.
The SA men are sure to face Kenya in Saturday’s 16:30 semi-final with Egypt up against Ghana in the 2pm semi-final. Sunday’s final is at 16:30. While the women’s competition is a round-robin event with no final, the girls in green and gold’s match against Ghana at 11:30 Sunday is likely to be a final in everything but name. Before Sunday, however, the SA women have the hurdles against Kenya, Thursday, and Tanzania, on Friday (19:00) to negotiate.
Meanwhile, two men’s matches played out Wednesday with Kenya beating Tanzania 7-0 and Egypt outplaying Nigeria 8-0. In the 11th minute of the first match, the lanky Kenya talisman George Mutria’s reverse-stick ripper from the top of the strike zone bulged the back of the net to put opponents Tanzania on the back foot. The Kenya men were peppering the Tanzania goalmouth with crosses from the left and right, and a series of wonderful saves by Tanzania goalkeeper Mufadel Abdeali kept his side in the game.
Kenya led 1-0 at half-time but were stretching the gutsy Tanzania defence to the limit and five minutes after half-time (35th minute) big Kenyan Zakaria Msumba hit the post before Leon Magamere slammed in the rebound. Tanzania were defending with great courage, but Kenya added five more goals for the 7-0 win, Magamere, Msumba, Brian Saina (2) and Constant Wakhura adding to the scoresheet. The late men’s game saw Egypt put eight past Nigeria without reply. Egypt’s penalty corner ace Mahmoud Mamdouh net a hat-trick of PC goals and one penalty stroke with Amr Ibrahim bagging a brace of PCs.
Mohamed Edris got one PC and the lone goal from field play went to Mohamed Essam. Nigeria never gave up, were upset to have had a goal from field play awarded and then overturned, and conceded just two goals after the changeover, having trailed an ominous 6-0 at half-time.
Photo credit: Marcell Sigg