Field Hockey: South Africa Wins Double Gold at African Championships

South Africa once again showed why they are the dominant force in field hockey in Africa by going undefeated in the men’s and women’s tournament at the 2015 African Field Hockey Championship. The men’s tournament contained a group stage and semi-finals while the women’s tournament was a straight up round robin. The winner of both tournaments qualified a spot to the Olympics. The African Field Hockey Championship was held in Randburg, South Africa from October 23rd to November 1st 2015.

The women’s tournament was a seven team tournament. South Africa was the heavy favourites and proved why by scoring 68 goals and conceding none. Ghana, considered to be the second best African nation in women’s field hockey was seen to have the best chance at causing an upset. While they needed a late goal to finish with a 3-3 draw against Kenya they were still in the hunt for the title going into the final day. Two goals in the first quarter gave South Africa an early lead over Ghana. While Ghana gave South Africa its hardest test they were still able to secure the Olympic quota by winning the match 3-0.

The men’s tournament had nine teams split into two groups. In Group A it was South Africa that went undefeated by scoring 61 goals and conceding none which included a 4-0 win over Ghana. Ghana would book their spot to the semi-final by defeating Zimbabwe 4-2 on the final day of the group stage.

Group B was led by Egypt whom also went undefeated by scoring 34 and conceding 1. Kenya was the runner-up as they came from behind to defeat Nigeria 3-1. Kenya was also the only nation to score against Egypt during the group stage as they got a consolation goal in the 51st minute in their 4-1 loss.

In the semi-finals Egypt easily booked a spot in the final after defeating Ghana 7-1. A huge upset almost happened in the other match as both South Africa and Kenya went into the fourth quarter with a 0-0 tie. Kenya was able to score early in the quarter, but South Africa was able to survive the scare by scoring two goals to reach the final with a score of 2-1.

The final was a very defensive affair with a field goal by Egypt’s Houssam Ghobran being the only tally going into the final quarter. The fourth quarter began with a flurry of goals where the match quickly turned into a 2-2 game. The match was looking to head into a penalty shoot-out until Matthew Guise-Brown scored for South Africa in the 59th minute. Lloyd Norris-Jones added an insurance goal for South Africa in the dying seconds to give South Africa the title and Olympic quota.

This was the final qualifier for field hockey so now all 12 teams are known. However, South Africa has placed tough standards on all of its Olympians so it is not guaranteed that they will take the two team quotas. In the event that they do not accept the spot it will be reallocated to the next highest ranked team from the 2014-15 World League Semifinals, namely New Zealand for the men and Spain for the women.

Men’s Tournament Rankings

  1. South Africa
  2. Egypt
  3. Kenya
  4. Ghana
  5. Nigeria
  6. Zimbabwe
  7. Namibia
  8. Tanzania
  9. Botswana

Women’s Tournament Rankings

  1. South Africa
  2. Ghana
  3. Kenya
  4. Namibia
  5. Zimbabwe
  6. Nigeria
  7. Tanzania

References

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