The SA Women’s Team Beat Ghana to Contest the African Hockey Road to Paris Olympic Qualifiers Finals on Sunday

Tarryn Lombard beats the keeper whilst going for goal against Ghana in Friday’s semifinals of the African Hockey Road to Paris played at the University of Pretoria in Tshwane. The South African’s dominated Ghana 7-0. On Sunday South Africa will play Nigeria in the final for a guaranteed spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Photo: ES MEDIA

The South African senior women’s hockey team ran out a 7-0 victory over Ghana in the women’s semi-finals of the African Hockey Road to Paris Olympic Qualifiers at the University of Pretoria in Tshwane, South Africa, on Friday, 3 November, 2023.

The West African team was the most tenacious of rivals, not making it easy for their higher-ranked opponent, but the home team will now play in the final on Sunday against Nigeria at 4.30pm on Sunday, who made the gold medal match earlier in the afternoon as the country’s first women’s team to make the African Hockey final, after beating Kenya 1-0 at the Tuks Astro.

“In terms of playing qualifying hockey, I can’t fault my team.”

South African Women’s Hockey Head Coach, Giles Bonnet

South Africa survived an early scare as Mavis Benko’s flick almost beat Anelle van Deventer in goal in just the second minute of the first quarter, but the hosts regrouped and opened the scoring at the other end just a minute later.

Taheera Augousti, having written her matric maths exam in the morning, made inroads down the left touchline, before Quanita Bobbs’s cross was turned into goal via an excellent touch by Tarryn Lombard.

Ghana proved tough to break down for the rest of the first quarter, but South Africa were on fire in the closing stages as Kayla de Waal tapped in Kristen Paton’s cross under the goalkeeper and Bobbs then converted a penalty stroke as Lombard capitalised on a lovely ball out of defence from Kayla Swarts.

The second quarter was more open, with South Africa doubling their score to lead 6-0 at halftime. Bobbs began the scoring when she found herself in space and fired a reverse-sticks shot home in the 20th minute, and it was her hassling of the Ghana defence that led to a turnover and allowed Celia Seerane to notch the fifth goal. On the stroke of halftime, Marie Louw sent a powerful penalty-corner strike into the left corner.

With the substitutions of several senior players in the second half, South Africa only managed to add one more goal to their tally, with Bianca Wood scrambling the ball home on the final hooter.

But coach Giles Bonnet, eyes firmly on the future, was pleased with the control shown by his young team in the final half-hour.

“There were one or two moments when we were in crisis mode, and we didn’t create that much or convert as well in the second half, but I was still really happy with the control we showed.”

South African Women’s Hockey Head Coach, Giles Bonnet

“It’s always so difficult playing Afcon against teams like Ghana, where you are always expected to get the result, but they are physically strong and quick, and they did not give up at all. But in terms of playing qualifying hockey, I can’t fault my team.

“We scored some great goals in the first half and did a lot of things we wanted to do, although in the end it was not the prettiest of wins. But we are here to qualify, and it’s a young team that we are building for the long-term,” Bonnet said.

Nigeria made history in the day’s first semi-final, making history earlier in the afternoon as the country’s first women’s team to make the African Hockey final, after beating Kenya 1-0 at the Tuks Astro.

Benedicta Johnson’s short-corner strike in the third minute was deflected by a defender on to the Kenyan goalkeeper and then into the goal. Nigeria then showed tremendous courage in hanging on to their lead, although Kenya will feel they left a couple of goals out there.

Fixtures and Results at the African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifiers:

Sun 19 Oct: South Africa 10-0 Zimbabwe (Pool A)
Sun 19 Oct: Kenya 4-0 Zambia (Pool B)
Sun 19 Oct: Ghana 2-1 Namibia (Pool B) 
Mon 30 Oct: Namibia 2-3 Zambia (Pool B)
Mon 30 Oct: Ghana 2-3 Kenya (Pool B)
Mon 30 Oct: Nigeria 0-4 South Africa (Pool A)
Wed 1 Nov: Nigeria 2-1 Zimbabwe (Pool A)
Wed 1 Nov: Ghana 7-1 Zambia (Pool B)
Wed 1 Nov: Kenya 1-0 Namibia (Pool B)
Thu 2 Nov (5//7): Zimbabwe 2-2 (0-3 SO) Namibia
Fri 3 Nov (SF): Kenya 0-1 Nigeria
Fri 3 Nov (SF): South Africa 7-0 Ghana
Sat 4 Nov 09:15 (5/6): Zambia v Namibia
Sun 5 Nov 12:00 (3/4): Ghana v Kenya
Sun 5 Nov 16:30 (Final): South Africa v Nigeria

SA Women’s Team (and Caps) for the African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 from Sunday, 29 October to Sunday 5 November, 2023 at the Pretoria University in Pretoria

Anelle van Deventer (42)
Erin Christie (93)
Onthatile Zulu (44)
Antonet Louw (14)
Jean-Leigh du Toit (28)
Paris-Gail Isaacs (0)
Aphiwe Dimba (0)
Kayla de Waal (10)
Quanita Bobbs (172
Bianca Wood (35)
Kayla Swarts (9)
Stephanie Botha (21
Celia Seerane (173)
Kristen Paton (68)
Taheera Augousti (16)
Edith Molikoe (22)
Ntsopa Mokoena (16)
Tarryn Lombard (80)


Main Photo Caption: South African striker- Tarryn Lombard beats the keeper whilst going for goal against Ghana in Friday’s semifinals of the African Hockey Road to Paris played at the University of Pretoria in Tshwane. The South African’s dominated Ghana 7-0. On Sunday South Africa will play Nigeria in the final for a guaranteed spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Photo: ES MEDIA

Photo 2 Caption: Nigeria Women’s Hockey Team- A jubilant Nigerian women’s hockey team celebrate after beating Kenya 1-0 in the semi-finals of the African Hockey Road to Paris Qualifiers at the University of Pretoria in Tshwane, South Africa on Friday. Nigeria will now play South Africa in their first ever Olympic qualifying final on Sunday. Photo: ES MEDIA

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