The male and female national hockey teams of Ghana, the Golden Sticks are in dicey situations as far as qualification to the Rio Olympic Games is concerned.
All the way in South Africa where the teams are busy in competing in the Africa Hockey Championship which serves as qualifiers for the global multi sports event, both male and female teams face must-win situations in the last round of matches at the competition which final is slated for Sunday, November 1.
The male Golden Sticks currently occupy the second position ahead of today’s clash with Zimbabwe in Pool A after losing their top of the table clash to South Africa on Tuesday.
Until Tuesday’s loss to the South Africans who are favourites and defending champions, Ghana had jumped to the top, courtesy dominant wins against Namibia (5-0) and Botswana (27-0) and must beat the Zimbabweans to gain qualification to the semi final stage of the continental hockey showpiece.
Ghana’s headache would be to win handsomely to top the group to avoid Egypt in the other group at the semi final stage but the statistics makes that impossible considering the advantage the South Africans wield as far as head-to-head or goals aggregate are concerned.
The South Africans have scored 50 goals in only three games and looks unstoppable, meaning Ghana must focus on qualification first and plan on a new strategy to face the Egyptians who leads the other group.
It is no easy task for the female Golden Sticks who have two more games to play, starting tomorrow against Kenya and South Africa on Saturday.
They are unbeaten in four games, recording magnificent victories against Nigeria (2-1), Namibia (1-0), Zimbabwe (4-0) and Tanzania (12-0) but once again, the South African girls have been very dominant in their round robin games.
Just like what pertains in the male division, only one team would qualify for the Olympics and that provides another cause for worry for the ladies.
The only way out for them is to win the rest of the two matches.
By Andrew Nortey