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Sports News of Sunday, 18 August 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Tokyo 2020 hockey qualifier: Ghana clash with Egypt in match of redemption

Ghana’s male hockey team will attempt to put behind them the humiliating 1-9 defeat they suffered against South Africa last Thursday and regroup to face another tough opponent, Egypt, today at the University of Stellenbosch hockey stadium in the hope to revive their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifying campaign.

The defeat was very humiliating as it dealt a big blow to Ghana’s chances of winning the African qualifiers for next summer Olympics, with the South Africans and Egyptians having a perfect run and with a healthy goal difference.

Nonetheless, Ghana’s head coach, Ebenezer Frimpong, is keeping his chin high and hopeful of a positive outcome against the free-scoring Egyptians who have scored 19 goals and conceded just three.

According to Frimpong, his men have consigned last Thursday’s defeat to history and were now looking forward to the Egypt clash, hoping to claw back the lost points before meeting fourth-placed Zimbabwe tomorrow.

He attributed their defeat to the injury of key players, saying beside the injuries of Michael Baiden and Francis Tettey, Michael Akuamoah Boateng, one of their key strikers, could not play last Thursday due to ill-health.

“Michael Baiden and Francis Tetteh joined the team half fit, and we also lost another striker, Michael Akuamoah Boateng, to illness, so he couldn’t play against South Africa,” he stated.

While expressing concern about the team’s performance against South Africa, he said the team’s psychologists would engage the players to tune their mindsets on the tough game against Egypt with the view to getting positive results.

“The players will have sufficient rest to recover their lost energy, but we will get the team to focus on the tournament,” he assured.

In the other match of the day, Zimbabwe clash with Namibia before South Africa meet Kenya in an encounter which favours the hosts and defending champions.

Ghana will play their last match against Zimbabwe tomorrow followed by a clash between Kenya and Namibia, with Egypt and South Africa locking horns in what promises to be a thriller and a potential decider of which side win the tournament and represent Africa at the Olympics.