The African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifier began in earnest on Sunday Morning at the Tuks Hockey Astro in Pretoria. Both tournaments offer the men and women the opportunity to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.
And although they were all tested to varying degrees the tournament favourites, and top ranked sides, found themselves with victories to their names on the opening day. In the women’s competition Ghana made hard work of a victory against the spirited Namibians before securing the three points with a 2-1 victory, while Kenya emerged victorious by a far more comfortable margin against Zambia.
The South African Women underlined their title credentials with a no-nonsense victory inspired by co-captain Quanita Bobbs hat-trick. The hosts provided threat after threat, playing with a little Springbok swagger in a massive 10-0 victory. The quality of the goals scored:
“I don’t usually get to score so many, but I’m delighted with the opportunity to get on the scoresheet. Its extra sweet to score on the reverse stick,” share Bobbs. “It was a wonderful team performance and a great way to start the tournament.”
In the men’s tournament Egypt, on paper appear the most likely challenger to the hosts, but they were tested significantly by a gallant effort from Kenya. Ultimately the pedigree shone through, and the Egyptians were able to secure a 2-0 victory. Ghana also earned a pool A victory with a triumph over Zambia having to fight back from 1-0 down for a 3-1 win.
Elsewhere the Nigerian sides were delayed on arrival due to VISA issues and were unable to meet their fixture today. In terms of tournament protocol, they lose the game by forfeiture 5-0 to Uganda.
Mirroring the women’s result the South African men produced a landslide 10-0 victory themselves over Zimbabwe. Matt Guise-Brown on his return to the national side after injury scored a hat-trick of penalty corners and Bili Ntuli mirrored that with his own hat-trick. Jacque van Tonder, Dayaan Cassiem and Mustapha Cassiem all got on the scoresheet, but the biggest celebration of the night was reserved for Zenani Kraai as he scored his first International goal for the country.
“This was the first game we have played since the FIH Hockey World Cup so naturally the team was a little bit rusty and just working our way through finding connections,” shared goalkeeper Anton van Loggerenberg “we have a great bunch of lads and its always a pleasure to represent our country together!”
African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifiers (W) – Day 1 Results
Pool A – South Africa 10-0 Zimbabwe
Pool B – Kenya 4-0 Zambia
Pool B – Ghana 2-1 Namibia
African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifiers (M) – Day 1 Results
Pool A – Egypt 2-0 Kenya
Pool A – Ghana 3-1 Zambia
Pool B – Nigeria 0-5 Uganda
Pool B – South Africa 10-0 Zimbabwe