Zimbabwe women’s field hockey team coach Patricia Davies has praised her players for putting local hockey back in the limelight following their impressive run at the ongoing Hockey Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Ghana.
The Zimbabwe team reached the Afcon semifinals for the first time since 1998 on Thursday before narrowly missing out on a place in the final after a 2-1 loss against hosts Ghana a day later.
Despite failing to reach their first final in 30 years, Davies of the famed Golden Girls team which won a gold medal for Zimbabwe at the 1980 Olympics was full of praises for her players.
“Our team performed very well against Ghana they all put in 100% but sadly missed opportunities especially in the closing stages of the game and Ghana scored in the last second to win 2-1. Obviously they were very upset to lose like that. We had two opportunities to score in the last few minutes and didn’t convert them but this is the first time in 24 years Zimbabwe has got to the semifinals so I am very proud of them,” said Davies.
After an impressive run in Africa’s biggest women’s hockey competition thus far, Zimbabwe’s hopes of reaching their first final at the continental competition were finally ended by the tournament hosts Ghana, who came from a goal down to claim a last gasp 2-1 victory in the semifinals.
Zimbabwe Ladies gave their utmost until the last seconds of the Game. Ghana awarded a penalty corner in last seconds of the game and converted their opportunity. Final score 2-1. We are very proud of the ladies achievement at the ACN
— Zimhockey (@zimhockey) January 21, 2022
The local ladies took the lead in the 15th minute when Alexi Terblanche netted, before Ghana levelled ten minutes later through Nafisatu Umaru.
The hosts then struck a late winner through Elizabeth Opoku to dramatically seal a place in the final against South Africa, who are aiming to win a seventh straight women’s title.
Zimbabwe will now play Kenya in the bronze medal match after both teams lost their semifinal encounters on Friday evening.
The Zimbabwe side won the tournament in 1991, the only time another country except South Africa won the competition. Their other medal in the competition came back in 1998 when they clinched the bronze medal.