JOHANNESBURG – The South African women’s team romped to a 5-0 victory in their African Hockey Cup of Nations opener against Kenya in Egypt on Sunday.
While the women opened their account on a winning note, the men had a false start after Zambia did not pitch for the encounter.
Chasing their eighth consecutive title, the men need to win the tournament to book their place for next year’s World Cup in India.
The women’s side has already qualified for their 2018 World Cup in London, and they will be looking to claim their seventh continental title on the trot.
Their runaway victory over the Kenyans represented some sort of improvement for Kenya compared to their previous meeting two years ago.
In their last encounter at the 2015 edition of the biennial continental championships, South Africa thrashed the East Africans by 12 goals.
It was a dream return for stalwart Dirkie Chamberlain on Sunday as she scored a brace of goals, along with Candice Manuel, with Tarryn Glasby making it a handful of points also making it on to the score-sheet.
Egypt pose the biggest threat to the men’s hopes of reaching the World Cup, and holds a slight edge after beating them 2-1 at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals event in South Africa in July.
Fixtures will be reshuffled for both the men and the women’s tournaments after Zambia withdrew their teams.
The SA women were set to face Zambia on Wednesday, and are likely to have an extra day’s rest, while both teams will cross sticks with Nigeria on Monday.