South Africa's Marizen Marais (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring against India during their women's pool A match of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: AFP
South Africa's Marizen Marais (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring against India during their women's pool A match of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: AFP

SA Hockey teams to defend their African crowns in Ghana next year

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Aug 24, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The South African Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams will defend their African Nations Cup of Hockey titles in Accra, Ghana next year.

The African Hockey Federation released the dates on Tuesday morning, with both tournaments set to run simultaneously at the Theodosia Okoh National Stadium from 24 – 30 January.

Both the Men’s and Women’s winners of the African Nations Cup automatically qualify for the FIH Hockey World Cup.

The South African Women’s team have won the event on the last six occasions, since participating for the first time in 1994. They share a great rivalry with the hosts Ghana, who they have defeated in the last four finals.

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The Men’s team, meanwhile, enjoyed an epic tussle in the 2017 final when they edged out their hosts Egypt 2-1 at Suez Canal Authority Hockey Stadium in Ismailia. They had earlier played to a 3-3 all draw with Egypt in a group match.

Meanwhile, the International Hockey Federation have also announced the nominees for the Annual FIH Hockey Star Awards, with South African rookie Mustapha Cassiem being announced as a finalist in the “Rising Star” category.

The Rising Star Award is for the best young player in world hockey and past winners include the likes of Artur van Doren, Gonzalo Peilat, Tobias Hauke and Jamie Dwyer amongst others.

ALSO READ: India knock out SA Women's Hockey team in Tokyo

Mustapha made his outdoor debut for the SA Hockey men on the 8 February 2020 against USA as a 17-year-old and made an immediate impact in scoring on debut. He would score another in the series before a COVID enforced wait meant he would next feature for SA against Namibia in May 2021. He scored four from four against our African neighbours and had a remarkable eight wins from eight tests so far.

Mustapha is also an indoor national and was part of the team that recently won the African Indoor Cup of Nations and qualified for the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Belgium. He has already scored 24 goals for the SA Indoor Hockey Men in just eight indoor hockey test caps, a remarkable three goals per game.

But it was in Tokyo that the world got to see what we already knew about the younger Cassiem brother as he netted three goals, including the winner against Germany to get the hockey world and the Olympics themselves talking.

Mustapha has been nominated alongside Indian sensation and 2019 recipient Vivek Prasad and Sean Findlay from New Zealand.

For the next month fans of the hockey world will be able to vote for their favourites in the eight categories on www.FIH.ch/hockeystars where of course you can pick Mustapha to win!

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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