SA goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse (left) in action against Belgium's Florent Van Aubel (right, down) during the men's Field Hockey World Cup match between Belgium and South Africa at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India in December. Photo: EPA/Harish Tyagi

STELLENBOSCH – The South African men and women’s hockey teams will be strong favourites to win the African Cup tournament, which starts at the Stellenbosch today.

The event doubles up as the continental Olympic qualifier for Africa with the winning teams qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

In the men’s competition, eight teams will be competing with South Africa and Egypt the two teams expected to be contesting the final.

South Africa have won the last seven Africa Cups.

South Africa recently completed a successful FIH Series Finals campaign in which they took second place in Bhubaneswar, India and with it the chance to compete in the FIH Olympic qualifiers in October and November.

Sascoc has stipulated that the teams need to qualify via two routes - by winning the African Championships and by winning through to the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in October and November.

Erin Hunter will captain the SA women’s team at the African Cup from today. Photo: supplied

The SA Ladies are the strongest team on the continent and should clinch the title with ease.

Today’s Fixtures (Selected)

Egypt v Zimbabwe (Men), 4pm

South Africa v Nigeria (Ladies), 6pm

South Africa v Nigeria (M), 8pm

IOL Sport