Women’s hockey team confident of podium finish

15 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
Women’s hockey team confident of podium finish BON VOYAGE. . . The Zimbabwe senior women’s field hockey team pose for a group photo at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport yesterday before leaving for the Africa Cup of Nations hockey tournament which gets underway in Accra, Ghana, on Monday - Picture: Justin Mutenda

The Herald

Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter

THE Zimbabwe senior women’s hockey team’s coach, Patricia Davies, is confident of a podium finish at the Africa Cup of Nations that gets underway on Monday in Accra, Ghana.  The tournament, featuring both men and women, runs until January 23.

Zimbabwe is represented by the women’s side and they left for Ghana yesterday. 

They are up against South Africa, Namibia and Uganda in Pool A.

Speaking just before their departure for Ghana yesterday, Davies conceded they are up against strong teams but is confident with the work they have put in, the team is ready for the task at hand.   

“I think we got a pretty strong group, I mean South Africa is very strong, Namibia is strong, we don’t really know Uganda… So I don’t know their standard. But it is a strong group. 

“The team is very fit. It’s been playing for quite a long time and I think I have a lot of expectations for them because we all are just trying to get onto the podium. That’s what we are trying to do.

“They have trained a lot, and they have trained hard and they deserve a win. I mean to get on that podium this year.

“They are a lovely bunch of girls and they have worked so hard. It would be very disappointing if they don’t do well. And I think they have got a good chance, one of the best chances of getting to the top.

“We are hoping to win but obviously the podium would suit us,” said Davies.

Davies, a former hockey player, is a member of the Golden Girls team that won Zimbabwe’s first gold medal at the Olympic Games, in Moscow, Russia, in 1980.

She said their opening encounter against South Africa is key in shaping their campaign but they are going in the tournament with an open mind. 

“It is very important but because once we have finished our group as long as we come first or second, we have a chance of then going through to the semi-finals, and final. We just got to make sure that we win two games basically,” said Davies. 

Zimbabwe’s second game is against Uganda on Tuesday and they wrap up the group matches on Wednesday when they take on Namibia. 

From the pool matches, there will be cross-pool play-offs and then the final games to determine the final rankings.

Captain, Mary Houghton, has also rallied the senior women’s side to rise to the occasion and deliver at the continental showpiece. 

“We have been training probably for two years now since the Road to Tokyo, the Olympic qualifiers in Stellenbosch, South Africa. 

“Not much of the team has changed since then, five new people have come in. Our goal is to have podium finish. So we are hoping to finish in the top three,” said Houghton.

Pool B in the women’s section consists of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.  The men’s competition is made up of seven teams – South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.

Pool A is made up of South Africa, Kenya and Namibia while Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda make up Pool B. 

Zimbabwe Team 

Georgia Allardice, Amy-Lee Levey, Mary Houghton (C), Belinda Marais, Jordyn Clipstone, Jenna Mathieson (GK), Tinodiwanashe Elijah, Farirai Nengare, Nicolle Grant, Jenna Palmer, Simone Herbst, Lillian Pope, Natasha Hess, Alexei Terblanche, Iman Johnson, Natalie Terblanche, Kelly -Ann Kaulback, Michelle Williams.

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