South Africa sealed their position as the African Champions for the sixth consecutive time at the Randburg Astro on Sunday, 1 November, 2015, as they won their final round robin match against Ghana with goals coming from Jade Mayne, Dirkie Chamberlain and Lilian du Plessis.
The second-final round-robin match of the women’s Greenfields African Hockey Championship 2015 was in effect a final, as it pitted first placed team home team South Africa (FIH World Ranking: 11) versus second placed team Ghana (FIH World Ranking: 31).
The tournament’s host team have not been beaten in this event since their first appearance in 1994, and this year they dominated every game, scoring 68 goals in six games and conceding none. Despite losing their final game, Ghana finished the tournament in second place as their closest rivals, Kenya, lost to Nigeria.
— International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) November 1, 2015
South Africa, by virtue of their world ranking and experience, would have been devastated by anything less than a win, but Ghana are an aspirational side, who have been impressing everyone with their raw talent and drive to succeed.
However, SA didn’t take their eye off their target and soon settled into a rhythm. The difference between the teams was structure when in possession and composure when breaking down the opponent’s play.
The first goal was scored in the seventh minute when Jade Mayne latched onto a ball to fire home past Abigail Boye in the Ghana goal.
Dirkie Chamberlain added to her own personal tally of 10 goals in the whole tournament when she scored from a penalty corner at the end of the first quarter, and then Lilian du Plessis put the game beyond Ghana’s reach with a fine penalty corner strike in the 31st minute.
This goal meant that du Plessis was the top goal scorer by some margin, with 18 goals to her name.
Ghana never gave up hope, and fought for every ball for the remainder of the game, but this was a lead that South Africa were never going to let go of.
After their win, Captain of the South Africa women’s team, Nicolene Terreblanche, said: “It was our goal to win this tournament. We came out to prove ourselves and we are really proud to have done this. It is important for our world ranking, and we will keep going on our programme.”
Sheldon Rostrum, the South Africa Head Coach, added: “We set ourselves a target to win this. We wanted to qualify for Rio through Valencia and we didn’t achieve that, but we knew we had to win this tournament and give ourselves every chance.”
SA Women’s Hockey Results at the Greenfields African Hockey Championships, at the Randburg Hockey Stadium 23 October – 1 November, 2015:
- Sat 24 Oct: South Africa 15-0 Nigeria
- Mon 26 Oct: South Africa 5-0 Namibia
- Tue 27 Oct: South Africa 6-0 Zimbabwe
- Thu Oct 29: South Africa 12-0 Kenya
- Fri 30 Oct: South Africa 27-0 Tanzania
- Sun 1 Nov: South Africa 3-0 Ghana
SA Squad for the Africa Olympic Qualifier Tournament:
- Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng)
- Lisa Deetlefs (Southern Gauteng)
- Christine Roos (Southern Gauteng)
- Toni Marks (Southern Gauteng)
- Shelly Russell (Southern Gauteng)
- Bernie Coston (Southern Gauteng)
- Lilian du Plessis (Southern Gauteng)
- Anelle van Deventer (North West)
- Celia Evans (North West)
- Nicolene Terblanche (Northern Blues)
- Dirkie Chamberlain (Northern Blues)
- Candice Manuel (Western Province)
- Illse Davids (Western Province)
- Jade Mayne (Western Province)
- Tarryn Bright (Western Province)
- Tanya Britz (Free State)
- Nicole Walraven (Free State)
- Cornelle Botha (Free State)
Article Lead Image caption: The International Hockey Federation’s congratulations to the SA women’s hockey team, after ending top of the Greenfields African Hockey Championship 2015 round-robin log. Image: FIH
With editing by gsport