The Zimbabwe women’s hockey team started off on a good note despite playing a goalless draw against Ghana in an African-Olympic qualifier at Khumalo Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
Zimbabwe goalkeeper Stephanie McDonald guarded her goalpost jealously and kept the team in the game as she pulled numerous saves throughout the game.
Ghana’s Erica Amatepe and captain Pamela Condobrey frustrated Zimbabwe ladies as they thwarted most of the moves, clearing Zimababwe’s three penalty corners in the first half.
Zimbabwe’s Andria Tzicalle made a solo run trying to penetrate the Ghanian defence in search of the crucial goal, but Rachael Bamfo marshalling the defence, stood he ground.
The solo run resulted in Zimbabwe getting a long corner which they failed to convert to a goal.
The game was a balanced affair in the first half, but saw the hosts coming back a much charged up side in the second half.
Zimbabwe captain Nicky Taylor dribbled past the Ghana defence as she kept Zimbabwe supporters on the edge of their seats anticipating to get a goal, but Ghana’s defence reacted fast to clear the resultant long shot.
Zimbabwe kept on piling the pressure and got two penalty corners with a few minutes from time, but again, failed to convert them to goals as Ghana defence continued to thwart their moves.
Zimbabwe were awarded yet another penalty corner in the last minute of the game, but once again they could not get the breakthrough as Ghana cleared their lines quickly. Zimbabwe team manager Claire Turner said she was happy with the performance of the team.
“It was a good game considering that we have not been playing competitively. They played well although they failed to utilise the penalty corners that came their way. But we are looking forward to our next game,” she said.
Zimbabwe captain Taylor commended her teammates for the performance.
“It was a good game although we did not get the much needed goals. We are now focusing on our next game,” she said.
In another match played on the same day, South Africa kicked off in style trouncing Kenya 9-0.
South Africa got their first six goals in the first half before they wrapped the game in the second half adding three more goals.
South African captain Marsha Marescia had a good game up as she scored three goals.
She scored the first goal for South Africa through a penalty corner in the 18th minute.
She got her second for the day three minutes later through a penalty stroke.
Marescia got her third goal in the 31st minute through a field goal.