June 18, 2024

SA hockey teams book spots for Paris 2024 Olympics

Pretoria, Tshwane, South Africa: A capacity crowd in Pretoria saw the South African Hockey Women secure themselves a place at the Paris Olympics with a resounding victory over Nigeria, themselves playing in their first ever African Hockey tournament final.

South Africa got the match off to a perfect start as Tarryn Lombard deflected home a Bobbs penalty corner. Lombard doubled both her and the teams tally with a deflection from a Zulu shot and South Africa led at the first interval 2-0.

The second quarter saw the hosts ramp home their dominance as Quanita Bobbs smashed home on the reverse after good work from Thati Zulu and Jean-Leigh du Toit sent a corner into the roof of the net. Bianca Wood finished after good work from Kristen Paton before Taheera Augousti scored a similar strike to Bobbs to make it 6-0 at the half time interval.

A further two goals were added in the third quarter. Tarryn Lombard scored her hat-trick deflection before Paris-Gail Isaacs scored her first international goal. It was merely a formality until the South Africans were confirmed as champions of the qualifier.

The final quarter saw Kristen Paton score South Africa’s ninth goal and wrap up the victory for the South Africans by a score of 9-0.

Player of the match in the final Tarryn Lombard was delighted with her role in the victory:

“Scoring a goal in the final is stuff of dreams, let alone a hat-trick. I’m absolutely stoked with the performance. We are incredibly pleased to qualify for the Olympic Games, the hard work starts here and I can’t wait to get started.”

The women’s ticket to Paris might have been straight forward, but the men found an altogether different challenge. Egypt put in an incredible performance to take the game all the way to the final minute.

South Africa opened the scoring through tournament top goal scorer Matthew Guise-Brown but Egypt levelled 120 seconds later as Hossam Ghobran levelled matters with a fine reverse stick strike.

Egypt had a goal disallowed and struck the post, but it was Ryan Julius who popped up at the right time to put the goal into the back of the net. Despite a lengthy review the goal stood, and South Africa led with 4 minutes to remain.

Egypt once again found the back of the net with 30 seconds left on the clock but once again the South Africans referred, and the goal was disallowed which sent the crowd into a crazy celebration sealing the victory for South Africa and a ticket to the Paris Olympics.

Ryan Julius, who scored the winning goal, shared his thoughts after the final:

“I can hardly remember the moment, but it’s the greatest in a qualifier for me. I was in the right place at the right time, and I couldn’t be happier. It was a sensational moment in front of a sensational crowd!”

Earlier Kenya secured the bronze medal with a third consecutive victory over Ghana (one in the Commonwealth Games, two here in Pretoria). Played in punishing heat, unlike their meeting earlier in the tournament. Kenya scored twice in the opening six minutes through Caroline Guchu and Naom Kemunto. Ghana pulled a goal back through the brilliant Mavis Berko to set the game up superbly. Eleanor Chebet put the game to bed with a second half strike that sealed a 3-1 victory for the East Africans and the bronze medal.

Ghana will at least take one bronze medal back as they emerged victorious in the men’s bronze medal match. It was a game that was truly filled with one way traffic from the start as Ghana put Uganda to the sword. Francis Tettey ended his tournament with a hat-trick that was accompanied by goals from Benjamin Kwoffie, Johnny Botsio, Michael Baiden, and Ernest Opoku. Uganda earned a consolation goal through Colline Batusa but the celebration belonged to Ghana.

Quanita Bobbs Photo: Supplied
Quanita Bobbs Photo’s: Supplied

Individual Awards

Top Goal scorer (W) – Tarryn Lombard (South Africa)
Top Goal scorer (M) – Matthew Guise-Brown (South Africa)

Best Goalkeeper (W) – Martha Uko (Nigeria)

Best Goalkeeper (M) – Benjamin Acquah (Ghana)

Fair Play Award (W) – Zimbabwe

Fair Play Award (M) – Uganda

African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifier Men Final Standings

  1. South Africa
  2. Egypt
  3. Ghana
  4. Uganda
  5. Nigeria
  6. Kenya
  7. Zambia
  8. Zimbabwe

African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifier Women Final Standings

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

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