AAG: Ghana Demolish Nigeria 5-0 |
October 30, 2003
Ghana Hockey Association
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Ghana's Women Hockey Team Save Best For Last.......
The Ghana women's hcokey team put behind a dismal and uninspiring 2 weeks of hockey in Asia to record a resounding 5-0 victory over arch-rivals and All African Games silver medalists Nigeria in their match to determine the 7th and 8th placed teams of the Afro-Asian Games.
The Ghanaians surprised themselves, their handlers, officials of the Ghana Hockey Association and indeed the President of the International Hockey Federation, Mrs Els van Breda Vriesman, who was full of praise for the team and their handlers for the exceptional show they put up to showcase African hockey at the Games.
The Ghanaian players for once, were silent on the match and did well to focus ahead of the showdown with the team that beat them 2-0 in Abuja and effectively denied them a medal at the Games. They started strongly and did well to score twice before halftime through Abass Ramatu who ghosted behind the defence to slot home in the 4th minute and Beatrice Darko from a penalty corner in the 31st.
The Nigerians started the second half strongly and tried to pick up the pieces and shake off the shock of going 2 goals down in the first. They dominated the initial minutes but Bea Darko broke their resolve in the 40th minute with a well taken goal from field play. The Ghanaians went into overdrive and appeared to do nothing wrong on the day. 3 minutes after the goal, Vicky Dautey slammed home from a penalty corner to take the tally to 4. The Nigerians were completely ruffled and simply did not have an antidote to the Ghanaian surging runs in midfield and attack. The few times they ventured forward and created opportunities, they were denied by goalie Grace Mensah who put up a splendid show in goal for the Ghanaians.
The backline of Olivia Lartey, Maribel Lamptey, Abena Amponsaah and Captain Grace Marmon-Halm were resolute and warded off the Nigerian attack. In the 55th minute, a fine run on the right flank by Hagar Laryea found Georgina Sam who did the Ghanains the honours with a slicing chip into the Nigerian net for the 5th goal. The Nigerians had completely lost it and they looked so ordinary one could hardly believe they were the silver medalists at the Abuja Games. Perhaps, the true Ghanaian character was on show and somehow, the perking order in the Women's game in Africa has been redefined with South Africa staying top, Kenya second, Ghana third and Nigeria in that order.
Skillful India Deny South Africa Afro-Asian Gold in Penalty Shoot out
The Women's finals lived up to its billing as an Afro-Asian showpiece when South Africa and India clashed in an explosive encounter that ended at the firing squad!
It was 70 minutes of pure magic and skill and another 15 minutes of wits and flare that ended 1-1. Then the climax was a penalty shoot-out that could best be described as dramatic and thrilling for a final game at a championship of this nature.
South Africa were the first to take the stroke in the shoot-out but the India goalie blocked the low flick to her right side. The India pusher obliged the crowd when she sent the South African the wrong way with some superb wrist work. The South Africans scored, then the Indians. The Indians missed and the South Africans tied the shoot-out. The last South African taker missed and India had the lifeline to Afro-Asian glory. Petit Adline Kerketta, sent the India crowd into a frenzy when she squeezed the ball past the South African goalie for the gold medal winner and set off a wild jubilation.
Korea beat China 1-0 to take the Bronze, while Kenya tames Kazakhstan 3-1 to confirm that they had re-established the rankings after Abuja.
On Friday, the main stadium will see another electrically charged encounter as old rivals India and Pakistan square off for the Men's Gold to climax the hockey competition of the Games. Before then, Ghana's men team will seek to maintain their position on the African hockey perking order with a victory over Nigeria, while South Africa and Egypt battle for African supremacy on neutral Asian grounds in the City of Pearls. Korea and Malaysia go head-to-head for bronze before the main showdown which promises to raise the security concerns to an unprecedented height.
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