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Who is crowned continental champion will come down to the final game of the tournament as both Ghana and South Africa maintained unbeaten records at the women's Greenfields African Hockey Championship being held in Randburg, Johannesburg in South Africa.

The two teams face each other in the final game of the women's round-robin competition, with the winner being crowned African Continental Champions.

6-goal stalemate

Nothing could separate Kenya and Ghana as both teams went into their match needing to win in order to keep their Rio 2016 hopes alive. 

However, a 3-3 draw gave Ghana a huge advantage as Kenya now need the West Africans to lose against South Africa heavily in their final game, and Kenya need to score a lot of goals to overturn the goal difference.

The game was played at a blistering pace and Ghana must have thought it would be their day as Elizabeth Opoku continued to enhance her reputation as a fearsome striker when she scored from open play in the first minute of the game. 

After that opening goal however, the game became a thrilling game of cat and mouse, and it was Kenya who scored next, Teresa Nekesa calmly scoring a penalty stroke after a foul in the circle.

Nafisatu Umaru gave Ghana the lead again when she scored from a penalty corner, but that lead was cancelled when, first the captain Tracy Karanja, and then Audrey Omaido scored within a minute of each other to give Kenya the lead. 

With just five minutes left on the clock, it was Theresa Mills who proved the hero of the hour for Ghana, slotting home from open play to bring the scores level and keep Ghana’s dreams of Olympic glory alive.

Final round

In the final round-robin games, taking place on Sunday, South Africa face Ghana, with Ghana needing to win in order to secure top spot. With South Africa recording a massive goal tally of 65 goals in five games, Ghana will know that the pressure is on and their defence will need to be on top of their game.

Kenya must beat Nigeria by a heavy scoreline to challenge for second place, while Tanzania will be hoping to record their first points when they take on Namibia. (FIH)

RESULTS
Zimbabwe 1, Nigeria 2; Ghana 3, Kenya 3; South Africa 27, Tanzania 0. 

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Kenya women hockey team suffered a heavy 12-0 battering at the hands of hosts South Africa at the ongoing African Hockey Championships being held in Randburg, Johannesburg in South Africa.

South Africa (FIH World Ranking: 11), were expected to beat their 37th-ranked opponents and did so with ruthless abandon, leaving Kenya with a herculean task in their bid to finish second in the group.

Hat-tricks

The hosts’ goals included a hat trick apiece for Bernadette Coston, Candice Manuel and Lilian du Plessis. These latest goal scoring endeavours puts Du Plessis firmly at the top of the goal-scorer’s list with 11 goals to her credit.

Dirkie Chamberlan’s persistence and energy in midfield was rewarded with two goals and Celia Evans also got on the score-sheet with a penalty corner in the final minute of the game.

The results mean that South Africa sit at the top of the table, separated from second-placed Ghana by a superior goal difference. Kenya are in third, three points behind the leaders, with Namibia in fourth.

Ghana up next

In the next round of matches, an upbeat Nigeria face Zimbabwe, the pool leaders South Africa will take on bottom-of-the-table Tanzania and there will be a fiercely competitive encounter between Ghana and Kenya. 

Ghana will want to retain their unbeaten record, while Kenya will still fancy their chances of a second place finish in the group if either South Africa or Ghana slip up.

Also Read: Kenya men advance to semis

Friday fixtures – Women: Zimbabwe vs Nigeria (11h00); Ghana vs Kenya (13h15); South Africa vs Tanzania (18h00). Men: Botswana vs Tanzania (15h30)

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