The second day of the Nkosi Cup 2023 started with the afternoon session that saw the African Champions Namibia Women and South Africa Men entered the competition.
WOMEN – IRELAND 3-5 NAMIBIA
The game was a momentous one as it saw the return of Kiana Cormack to the Namibian side having sat out for a long period of time. The 2018 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup top goal scorer adds a scary threat under the leadership of newly appointed captain Gillian Hermanus. Ireland themselves showed tremendous promise before going down to the South Africans on the opening night.
It was Namibia who opened the scoring and it was inevitably from the first penalty corner with Kian Cormack ending her international exile with a goal inside 10 minutes. The timing was also perfect as it was edged in just before the end of the first quarter.
Ireland pulled level early in the second quarter with a slip variation going to Sarah Patton who finished well. Kiana Cormack scored a screamer from end to end and won dinked the finish over the oncoming keeper to make it 2-1. She completed her hat-trick in 14 minutes with a superb penalty corner into the roof of the goal. As had been the case against the South Africans, the Irish team had opportunities but were unable to convert and it was 3-1 at half-time.
Ireland had a goal chalked off early in the second half before Kiana Cormack made it 4 with another penalty corner. Ireland pulled a goal back through a superb penalty corner converted by Orla Patton. Ireland was searching for a way back into the game and had a few penalty corners but were unable to convert and the quarter ended 4-2.
Ireland pulled another goal back through an early Mikayla Power goal to set up a grandstand finish in Wynberg. The goal was a wonderful run and finish from an acute angle. As they had against South Africa, Ireland failed to find the leveler and in searching for it were caught on the break with Namibia finding a late goal with Azaylee Philander scoring her 25th international goal while Ireland pulled their keeper. 5-3 the full-time score.
Kathea Energy MVP – Kiana Cormack (Namibia)
MEN – SOUTH AFRICA 4-3 NAMIBIA
It was a repeat of the recent Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup final which ended in a shootout victory for the Namibians as the South Africans, powered by Tops at SPAR, began their tournament. Idrees Abdulla earned his debut cap while Dayaan Cassiem captain the team for the first time.
The opening quarter was one of very few opportunities as the two team who know each other well essentially cancelled each other out in the opening exchanges and the highly rare occurrence of a goalless quarter between the two fierce rivals went by.
Namibia won the game’s first penalty corner in the 13th minute, but it was easily defended by the South Africans. It was a game that was struggling to ignite with few chances created by either side in the opening half, but the South Africans did have a penalty corner on the stroke of half time, but it went astray and a goalless first half.
It took only three minutes for the Namibians to open the scoring in the second half. Owen Hatton received the ball on the base line and fired it home through Mngoma in goal. Fortunately for the hosts they were able to level quickly. A variation from the South Africans came to Mustapha Cassiem who continued his record of scoring in every single test he has played in. Namibia though re-established a lead through Percy Bartham finishing off a brilliant team move to take the lead 2-1. Just before the end of the third quarter Richter van Rooyen made a superb save and Namibia countered and scored through Fagan Hansen to lead 3-1.
South Africa fought back in the final quarter and pulled one goal back through Mustapha Cassiem from a penalty corner. The crowd were lifted further when they found the equalizer. Justin Domleo effected the turnover, the South Africans moved it quickly and Ryan Julius scored unmarked in the middle of the park, 3-3 the score. If the fightback had been impressive it continued in that frame when Ryan Julius scored again to make it 4-3 reversing a two-goal deficit superbly. A remarkable turnaround from the South Africans who looked in massive danger at the start of the quarter.
Kathea Energy MVP – Mustapha Cassiem (South Africa)