Trustees of Ghana put up a gutsy second half fight to seal a well deserved 2-0 win over Police of Egypt on the opening day of the 22nd African Cup for Club Championship at the National Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana on Thursday.
Both teams were tied at 1-1 at the end of the first half after the Ghanaians let a fifteenth minute lead by Matthew Damalie slip out of their grasp just two minutes later.
Following the quick riposte from Sayeed Ahmed, the Egyptians always looked menacing with their bullish attacking play. But Michael Nartey’s fifty-sixth minute goal ensured that Trustees only had to hang on perilously for a 2-1 victory and the maximum points.
That match was the much needed prelude to the opening ceremony for the ten-day championship which is being played by male and female teams from Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.
The succinct welcome ceremony saw Ghana’s Minister for Youth and Sports, Akua Sena Dansoa, pledging that nation’s commitment to facilitating the development of hockey locally and on the continent.
The chairman of the Ghana Hockey Association, Oko-Nikoi Dzani, who is also a member of the African Hockey Federation, expressed delight at the giant strides Ghana is making in the development of the game. He urged all to support efforts to grow the game from the youth level to the senior level in all geographic locations in the country.
Earlier in the day, the ladies got busy with defending champions Telkom Orange of Kenya starting off their campaign in a blistering fashion, thumping Sharkia of Egypt 5-0.
The free scoring Kenyans were in cruise control in what was arguably a lop-sided clash as Benardette Kiptiony grabbed a brace in addition to three other more from Guchu, Ogot and Olal.
In the other fixture in the Ladies’ competition, Extinguishers of the Ghana Fire Service showed supreme form as they thrashed Reformers of Ghana Prisons 3-0.
Spearheading the Extinguishers attack in what could aptly be described as a local derby; Joanita Korwu grabbed a quick brace for the fire fighters in a spate of three minutes, dousing whatever fire was left in the belly of the Prison Officers before the half time mark.
Back from recess, Reformers hardly posed any threat to the backline of their sworn enemies, leaving Bamfo to close the game with a forty-third minute goal in open play.
Golden Sticks and Niger Flickers reignited the age-old Ghana-Nigeria rivalry to end Match Day One on a high. Emulating the trail blazed by their compatriots, Trustees, Golden Sticks beat off stiff competition from Flickers to notch a 2-1 win. Daniel Ababio and Richard Adjei were the scorers for the victors while Kolo Jibrin’s thirty-second minute goal hardly provided any solace for the vanquished.
Heartland from Nigeria and Kenyan Side Strathmore were the beneficiaries of five goals and three points each as a result of a no show by Nigeria clubs Yobe Queens and Yobe Rollers on Thursday. The Yobe clubs who journeyed to the competition by road faced a series of difficulties before arriving at the venue during the latter part of Match Day One. The clubs will join the competition on Match Day Two after the African Hockey Federation (AfHF) had agreed to waive a potential expulsion from the competition in the spirit of development.
Match Day Two promises to be exciting with defending men’s champions Sharkia of Egypt taking on newcomers to the ACCC, Strathmore University of Kenya in the top liner. In the other male matches, Trustees of Ghana, riding on a high after their win over a much fancied Police of Egypt, would seek to consolidate the winning performance when they take on Nigerian neighbours Yobe Desert Rollers. A wounded Police of Egypt will come out in full armour to wrestle Niger Flickers of Nigeria while Heartlands, Telkom Orange and Extinguishers will seek to add on to their point build-up when they take on Reformers of Ghana, Yobe Queens of Nigeria and Sharkia of Egypt respectively in the women’s competition.
Ghana Hockey has a new website. To see it, please visit www.ghanahockey.org.
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