Cape Town - South Africa's men’s and women’s teams have reigned supreme at the African Cup of Nations hockey tournaments in Accra, Ghana, where the finals were played on Sunday evening.
South Africa's women saw hosts Ghana off in the final with a 3-1 triumph and have qualified for the World Cup which will be jointly hosted by Spain and The Netherlands in July. The women's team have been unbeaten at the Nations Cup since 1994.
The rampant team score 23 goals in the tournament and conceded a goal for the first time in the final when Elizabeth Opoku scored a sixth-minute penalty to take a surprise early lead. However, the South Africans staged a terrific fightback to run out convincing 3-1 victors.
South African attacker Tarryn Glasby was the tournament's top scorer with nine goals.
"It is nice to get a win in Ghana," said Glasby afterwards. "As a striker, you are supposed to score goals, so I am happy to be the top scorer.
"Looking forward to the World Cup, it is all about trusting our processes."
Nkuliso 'Inky' Zondi, coach of the SA women's team, was thrilled that South Africa had clinched a World Cup berth.
"I am really excited and happy with the game," said Zondi. It was a tough game, so thank you to Ghana.
"We have enjoyed our week here. We are a team that has changed, so we have to learn from what has happened this week and represent Africa well at the World Cup."
The best performance by an African team at the Women's FIH Hockey World Cup is seventh place by South Africa in 1998. This year's event will be the 15th edition of the Women's World Cup.
Meanwhile, South Africa's men's team rounded off their Afcon assignments at the Theodosia Okoh Stadium in Accra, Ghana, with a win over African powerhouse Egypt in the final. After a 1-all scoreline at the end of regulation time, South Africa emerged 3-1 victors in the penalty shoot-out.
With this result, South Africa have now won the previous eight men’s tournaments. The victory ensures SA of a World Cup berth at the FIH's blue riband event in India next year.
South Africa’s penalty corner specialist Matthew Guise-Brown was the top goalscorer at the week-long tournament with six goals.
'We are looking forward to the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar and Rourkela', says @GowanJones after @SA_Hockey qualified for the event with a win over Egypt in the shoot-out of the Africa Cup of Nations 2022 final.#ACN2022 pic.twitter.com/VwdPlamGrQ— International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) January 23, 2022
The drama-filled final took its toll on the SA coach Gareth Ewing.
“I’m shattered, that was too close for comfort,” said a relieved Ewing. "Ghana is such a great host, there was such a great atmosphere in the stadium, it was great to win.
"Based on tonight’s performance, we have a lot to do before the World Cup."
Tim Drummond, the SA captain was the happiest man in Ghana. "We are ecstatic. That was tough but we are missing some players so that shows that we have depth in the squad," said Drummond.
"There is a long way to go before the World Cup, but we hope to make a lot of improvement and finish in the top ten."