Ghana’s male hockey team returns to action today after a day’s rest to face a tough encounter against hosts South Africa as they chase a qualification ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Today’s clash at the hockey stadium of the Stellenbosch University in South Africa pits two sides with a perfect run in the competition, but for Ghana, it is a chance to claim maximum points and also end their opponent’s dominance over them at major international competitions.
After victories over Kenya and Namibia, the Ghanaian side is geared up for their toughest test yet against a free-scoring South African side who were on a rampage with a 9-0 drubbing of Zimbabwe on Tuesday, August 13 having earlier beaten Namibia 3-1 a day before in their opening fixture of the African 2020 Olympic Games qualifying competition.
The last time the two sides clashed at the 2017 Africa Nations Hockey Cup in the Egyptian city of Ismailia, South Africa ran away with the maximum points with a 3-2 victory and went ahead to win the continental competition.
Incidentally, all the players who scored in that match -South Africa’s Taine Paton and Ntuli Nqobile, Ghana’s Michael Baiden and Ernest Opoku – are expected to feature in today’s must-win clash.
With just one slot up for grabs, today’s game is a win-or-bust affair for either side, especially as group leaders Egypt are also in a good position to qualify for next year’s summer Olympics.