Zimbabwe book Hockey Africa Cup of Nations semi-final spot

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Tinodiwashe Elijah has been a brilliant form for the Zimbabwe team in Accra, Ghana

Zimbabwe’s senior women’s field hockey team enhanced their chances of securing a podium finish at the Hockey Africa Cup of Nations after ending a 24-year jinx by reaching the semi-finals of the continental competition which is underway in Accra, Ghana.

After failing to go beyond the group stages of the prestigious tournament since winning a bronze medal in 1998, the Zimbabwe team finally secured their spot in the last four of the competition after earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Southern African rivals Namibia.

Tinodiwashe Elijah, who has been in remarkable form during this tournament, put Zimbabwe in a deserved lead in the 15th minute but Namibia hit back through Taramarie Myburgh nine minutes from time to set up a nervy finish.

The gallant Zimbabwean ladies however held on to secure a hard-fought draw which secured them passage the semi-finals of the competition as the runners’ ups in Pool A.

Zimbabwe, whose only gold medal win in the tournament came back in 1990, will face off against the winners of Pool B on Friday for a spot in the final to be played on Sunday.

Heading into yesterday’s final round of pool matches South Africa had already secured the top spot in Pool A on six points, after comfortably beating Namibia (6-0) and Zimbabwe (3-0).

Namibia and Zimbabwe were level on three points each after both teams had previously beaten Uganda, with Namibia winning 3-0 and Zimbabwe 5-0.

This set up an explosive battle for the second semi-final spot behind South Africa.

In the end, it was the Zimbabweans who progressed to the next stage on goal difference.

The draw meant Zimbabwe maintained their good record against the Namibian side who they beat 3-2 in their last encounter at the 2019 Afcon in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

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