South Africa and Egypt will contest the men’s African Hockey Championship after both teams won their respective semi-finals at the event taking place in Randburg, Johannesburg in South Africa on Saturday.
South Africa were made to work to the final whistle in an entertaining match against Kenya. And in fact it was Kenya, who are ranked 39th in the world, who took the lead against the 15th ranked team.
Kenya take lead
After a goalless first half, Kenya opened the scoring through George Mutria in the 48th minute. South Africa equalised three minutes later through Lloyd Norris-Jones and then Pierre de Voux slotted in the winner with just five minutes left of the game.
The action throughout the game was end-to-end, with Kenya’s front running men causing the South African defence all sorts of problems, but ‘keeper Erammus Pieterse was on fine form, best demonstrated with a fantastic triple save in the second quarter of the match.
This was a game full of energy and physicality. Both teams finished with just 10 men on the field after two yellow cards were shown and numerous green cards saw players exiting the field with regularity.
As the final whistle went, South Africa will have breathed a sigh of relief as they came perilously close to losing their unbeaten record in this tournament.
South Africa will face Egypt in tomorrow’s final; Kenya will play Ghana for the bronze medal and Namibia will play Tanzania in the 7/8th place play-off.
Egypt thrash Ghana
Egypt, who have been impressive throughout this tournament, put in a compelling performance to run out 7-1 winners against Ghana (World Ranking: 41).
The team ranked 20th in the world played with energy and imagination and were deserving winners, but the scoreline does not do justice to the Ghanaian performance, which also fizzed with energy but lacked Egypt’s clinical finishing.
There was a dramatic finale to the 5/6th play-off match between Zimbabwe and Nigeria as Zimbabwe overturned a 2-0 deficit in the final seconds of regulation time to take the match to shoot-out.
The shoot-out was all square at five attempts, so sudden death beckoned and Nigeria duly held their nerve to win the match and take fifth place. (FIH)
Semi-Finals: Egypt 7, Ghana 1; Semi-Final 2: South Africa 2, Kenya 1.
5/6th play-off: Zimbabwe 2, Nigeria 2, (Nigeria win 3-2 on shoot-out).
Follow us on Twitter: @Four4TwoMedia