Namibia crash out of contention

Jivanka Kruger in action for Namibia against Kenya. Photo: SA Hockey Association

Namibia crashed out of contention for an Olympic spot when they were beaten 1-0 by Kenya in their final match at the Afcon Olympic Outdoor Hockey Qualifier in Pretoria yesterday. 

It was their third successive defeat, after losing 2-1 to Ghana and 3-2 to Zambia, which leaves them at the bottom of Pool B on zero points, and out of the running for a semifinal spot. 

In yesterday’s encounter, Kenya did most of the early attacking, with Eleanor Chebet and Maureen Okumu creating some good chances, but Namibia’s defence, well-marshalled by Gillian Hermanus kept them at bay.

Kenya continued to attack in the second quarter, winning a short corner, but Namibian keeper Petro Stoffberg kept Flavia Mutiva’s shot out with a reflex save. 

Namibia fought back into contention and had two great chances to take the lead midway through the second quarter, but they could not capitalise. 

After winning a short corner, Tisha Semedo’s shot was deflected off the crossbar, while Jerrica Cormack had a great chance with only the goalie to beat, but her shot hit the post. 

The pace picked up in the fourth quarter with attacks and counter-attacks at both ends. For Namibia, Anthea Coetzee and Tara Myburgh had shots saved, while Charlize Rix missed a good opportunity in the box, while at the other end, Stoffberg bought off some fine saves to deny Chebet and Okumu.

Kenya finally made the breakthrough when Mutiva launched an attack down the left wing and centred to Chebet, who passed to Grace Bwire to tap in at the far post. 

In other matches yesterday, Ghana beat Zambia 7-1 and Nigeria beat Zimbabwe 2-1.

Kenya finished on top of Pool B on nine points, after winning all three their matches, followed by Ghana on six points, Zambia on three and Namibia on zero points. 

South Africa topped Pool A on six points, followed by Nigeria on three points and Zimbabwe on zero points. 

In tomorrow’s semifinals, Kenya take on Nigeria at 12h30, while South Africa face Ghana at 17h00.

Namibia, meanwhile, will play Zimbabwe in the fifth place play-off match at 14h15 tomorrow. 

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