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Hockey News of Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Source: Ghana Hockey Association

Netherlands Under-21 Spank Ghana

The Netherlands U-21 team gave the Ghana National men team a taste of European and World class hockey with a 5-0 spanking on day one of the 4-Nations Invitational Championship in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Perhaps the initial stage freight and the rather fast nature of the water-based surface got the better of the Ghanaians as they conceded 3 goals in the first 10 minutes in the 20th minute and the 3rd on the stroke of half-time. The first three goals came from open play while the fourth was from a penalty stroke and the fifth a penalty corner.

The Ghanaians recovered from the initial first half shock and also mastered the turf to hold their own against the junior side of the World 4th ranked team to keep a clean sheet in the second half for a 0-5 match result.

According to reports, though the Ghanaian team put up a great fight, they were initially overwhelmed by the swift Dutch, a few of whom have had stints with the senior side at World level tournaments. The overall play of the Ghanaian team was reported to be good, especially the second half which saw them matching their opponents in all departments of the game. The coaches were sad to lose but were quick to draw valuable lessons from the encounter. They were confident that they will smoothen out the rough edges and psyche the players to rise above the stage freight and perform. The team takes a match rest on day 2 and will prepare with a training sessions for their next encounter with Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday afternoon.

The tournament, which forms part of the Ghana national team’s preparations towards the African Olympic Qualifier was organized by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the Netherlands Hockey Board (KNHB).

The ladies got their training tour on course with a good performance in a practice match. They were however badly let down by the lack of experience and thereby succumbed to a 1-4 defeat at the hands of a Dutch premiership side Eindhoven hockey club. After holding their more internationally experienced opponents to a 0-0 score at half time, they crumbled under enormous pressure from a well drilled side from the top ranked World nation in women’s hockey. Abass Ramatu scored Ghana’s only goal from a penalty corner. The women’s preparation remains on course with more practice matches, tactical drills and workouts.