Rio 2016: Ghana clinch 2nd and 4th place at AFC

Hockey tapGhana's female and male hockey teams enjoyed a memorable African Hockey Championships, finishing 2nd and 4th respectively at the tournament which also served as qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Despite their gallant efforts, both teams missed out on qualification for the Olympics as only the tournament winners were guaranteed qualifying slots. Seven women’s teams and nine men’s teams took part in the 2015 event overall.

FIH Report on 3rd/4th place Men’s Hockey Game:

In the bronze medal match, fans were treated to a fabulous display of attack and counter-attack as rivals Kenya (FIH World Ranking: 39) and Ghana (World Ranking: 41) battled it out for a 4-3 win in favour of the higher-ranked Kenyan team.

Derric Kuloba opened the scoring in the 10th minute when some great build-up play created space for the midfielder to slip the ball past Eugene Acheampong in the Ghana goal. This was Acheampong’s last action of the Championship as he left the field to be replaced by Jeffery Karikari.

Ghana came straight back into the game, with Captain Salya Nsalbini leading by example. His equaliser from a penalty corner in the 17th minute brought Ghana back level.

On the verge of half-time, Kenya got their second goal, a penalty corner struck by Maxwell Wakhungu; the action also saw two Ghana players yellow carded. Despite being down to eight field players, Ghana held on until half-time with no further score.

Four minutes into the second half however, and still with a two-man advanatge, Kenya extended their lead to 3-1 with a well-taken goal from Leon Magomere.

As the action flew from end-to-end, Ghana were still very much in the game and they came back to 3-2 when Michael Baiden scored from open play.

However, Kenya restored the cushion just one minute later through some great work by George Mutria and, despite one more goal from Benedict Sam in the 50th minute, Kenya were able to shut up shop and hold onto the lead through the last 10 tense minutes.

On an individual level, Ghana’s Johnny Botsio was crowned the third highest scorer in the tournament with 11 goals to his name.

FIH Report on Women’s Hockey Game:

The match between South Africa and Ghana was billed as a winner takes all finale as it pitted first placed team versus second placed team.

South Africa, by virtue of their world ranking and experience, would have been devastated by anything less than a win, but Ghana are an aspirational side, who have been impressing everyone with their raw talent and drive to succeed.

However, South Africa didn’t take their eye off their target and soon settled into a rhythm. The difference between the teams was structure when in possession and composure when breaking down the opponent’s play. 

The first goal was scored in the seventh minute when Jade Mayne latched onto a ball to fire home past Abigail Boye in the Ghana goal. 

Dirkie Chamberlain added to her own personal tally of 10 goals in the whole tournament when she scored from a penalty corner at the end of the first quarter and then Lilian du Plessis put the game beyond Ghana’s reach with a fine penalty corner strike in the 31st minute. This goal meant that du Plessis was the top goal scorer by some margin, with 18 goals to her name.

Ghana never gave up hope, and fought for every ball for the remainder of the game, but this was a lead that South Africa were never going to let go of.

The Ghanaian ladies ended up taking second spot in the round robin with 13 points with Elizabeth Poku and Martha Safoa emerging joint top scorers for Ghana with five goals each.