Egypt dominated the men’s competition at the Hockey Series Open in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe as they won all their matches and so qualified for the Hockey Series Finals next year.
In the women’s competition it was Namibia who emerged as the overall winners as they faced tough opposition from their two rivals in the first Hockey Series Open event to take place in Africa.
Ahmed Elganaini topped the goal scoring table with 10 goals, all scored from open play, as Egypt (FIH Hero World Ranking:19) swept to comprehensive victories.
In the opening game Egypt, who were the highest ranked team by some considerable margin, beat Namibia (WR:74) 17-1. They followed this up with a much closer 4-1 victory over the host nation Zimbabwe (WR:66) before rattling 13 goals past Zambia (WR: no world ranking).
Egypt’s dominance was underlined by the presence of four of the team taking the top four goal scoring spots. Elgnanaini was joined by Mohamed Adel (8 goals), Amr Elhady (3) and Ahmed Elnaggar (3 goals).
The remaining games were all drawn, with Zimbabwe and Zambia finishing a highly competitive encounter at 2-2. Zambia then played out an exciting 4-4 draw with Namibia, with Siyabonga Martins and Pieter Jacobs rescuing Namibia by scoring in the final 60 seconds of play to bring the score from 4-2 to 4-4.
Namibia continued to demonstrate the importance of playing until the final minute when they repeated the feat against Zimbabwe. The host nation were leading 3-2 but Liam Hermanus made the most of a penalty corner to bring his side back to 3-3 with seconds left on the clock.
The results mean Egypt finished in top spot, with Zimbabwe second, Zambia third and Namibia in fourth place.
In the women’s competition, Namibia (WR:60) opened their account with a 3-0 victory over Zambia (no world ranking). The goals came from Jivanka Kruger, Kaela Schimming and Phea Gerber.
Zambia learned that experience and turned their next result into a 3-2 win over Zimbabwe, scoring twice in the final three minutes for the game. Zimbabwe had taken an early 2-0 lead with goals from Alexei Terblanche and Mazvita Mtausi. The Zambia goals were scored by Anna Banda, Carol Namombe and the winner from Catherine Kalomo.
The final game, which sealed Namibia’s first place finish was a slender 1-0 win by the eventual champions over the hosts. The only goal was scored in the 26th minute by Namibia’s captain Magreth Mengo. The results mean that Namibia finish in pole position, with Zambia second and Zimbabwe in third place. Egypt men will now play the Hockey Series Final in France, while Namibia will be competing in the women’s event in either Spain or Ireland (tbc).
For further information about the Hockey Series Open and the Hockey Series Finals, click.