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South Africa complete double at Africa Cup of Nations

October 29, 2017
  • South Africa men beat Egypt to qualify for Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup, Bhubaneswar 2018
  • South Africa women beat Ghana to retain crown for seventh consecutive occasion

South Africa men and women won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, held at Ismailia in Egypt earlier today, defeating Egypt and Ghana respectively in the finals.

Whilst South Africa women had already qualified for next year's Hockey Women's World Cup in London via the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, their men's victory against Egypt guaranteed them qualification for the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 in India.

Both teams were undefeated throughout this event, with the women winning all their games and the men winning three and drawing against Egypt in the round-robin stages.

The women's final was a rematch of an earlier pool game against Ghana, which South Africa had won 3-0.

South Africa, who are currently ranked 13th in the FIH Hero World Rankings, played at their usual high tempo but it was not until the 19th minute that they broke down the resolute Ghana defence.

Illse Davids was able to make the most of a loose ball to put South Africa ahead. Lillian du Plessis hit the second South African goal from a penalty corner just before half-time to double her team's lead.

After the break, Tarryn Glasby added two more well-taken goals from open play. Although she didn’t score in the final, Dirkie Chamberlain, who has returned from a long lay-off through injury, was the top scorer with eight goals.

The result meant that South Africa women have won this event every time since 1994, winning seven titles in total.

Ghana (World Ranking 32) took silver, with Nigeria (WR: 62) taking the bronze medal after they defeated Kenya (WR:42) on shoot-out after the match finished 3-3 in regulation time. Goals from Beauty Irame and Eleho Ovo during the shoot-out meant Nigeria beat their higher ranked rivals.

The men’s final was a close-fought contest and Egypt will be disappointed that they are not heading to next year’s World Cup.

In an earlier encounter during the teams in this competition, Egypt (WR:19) had held South Africa (WR:15) to a 3-3 draw and had clear hopes of inflicting defeat upon their southern rivals second time around. For South Africa men, this is their eighth consecutive win at this event.

It started well for Egypt as Ahmed Elganaini put the home side ahead in the eighth minute but South Africa brought the scores back to level when Taine Paton swooped on the ball to slam it home in the 39th minute.

The game looked destined to be a shoot-out until Jethro Eustice drove home from a penalty corner with just two minutes left on the clock.

A frantic last 120 seconds saw Egypt throw all they had at South Africa but in the end the more experienced side prevailed and will be on their way to Bhubaneswar next year.

In the bronze medal match, two close rivals Ghana (WR: 36) and Kenya (WR: 37) played out an entertaining and high scoring match as Ghana eventually ran out as 5-3 winners.

Kenya took the lead through Constant Wakhura. This spurred Ghana into action and they scored the next five goals, with Francis Tettey, Elikem Akaba (2), Luke Damalie and Emmanual Ankomah all finding the net.

Kenya fought back through Festus Onyango and Kennedy Munialo but it was too little, too late.

Final Standings
Men:
1. South Africa (Gold) 
2. Egypt (Silver)
3. Ghana (Bronze)
4. Kenya
5. Nigeria

Women:
1. South Africa (Gold)
2. Ghana (Silver)
3. Nigeria (Bronze)
4. Kenya
5. Egypt

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