By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Ladies Hockey team will face Kenya in the battle for bronze medal at the Hockey Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana on Sunday after both teams lost their semi-final encounters on Friday evening.
Zimbabwe’s hopes of reaching their first final at the continental competition were ended by the tournament hosts Ghana, who came from a goal down to claim a last gasp 2-1 victory in the semi-finals.
The local ladies took the lead in the 15th minute when Alexi Terblanche netted, before Ghana levelled ten minutes later through Nafisatu Umaru.
The hosts then struck a late winner through Elizabeth Opoku to dramatically seal a place in the final against South Africa, who are aiming to win a seventh straight women’s title.
Zimbabwe coach Patricia Davies of the famed Golden Girls team which won a gold medal for Zimbabwe at the 1980 Olympics said her charges were unlucky not to win the match after creating very good scoring opportunities in the latter stages of the encounter.
“Our team performed very well against Ghana. They all put in 100% but sadly missed opportunities especially in the closing stages of the game and Ghana scored in the last second to win 2-1. Obviously, they were very upset to lose like that. We had two opportunities to score in the last few minutes and didn’t convert them but this is the first time in 24 years Zimbabwe has got to the semi-finals, so I am very proud of them,” said Davies.
Zimbabwe will now play Kenya in the bronze medal match. The Zimbabwe side won the tournament in 1991, the only time another country except South Africa won the competition. Their other medal in the competition came back in 1998 when they clinched the bronze medal.
The Zimbabwe coach is hoping for a more clinical performance against the Kenyans, who lost 4-0 in the first of the semi-final encounters at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium.
“I am expecting another very good challenge tomorrow against Kenya. We need to convert our opportunities to win the game and keep our composure,” she said.