Egyptians, Heartland rule the roost at hockey Club Cup
Egypt’s Sharkia claimed an unprecedented 19th victory with Nigeria’s Heartland wrapping up a third diadem as the 22nd Africa Cup Club hockey championships ended on Saturday at the National Hockey Stadium, Accra.
Earlier, Kenya’s Strathmore University lost to another Egyptian side, Police, in their play-offs for bronze while Yobe Desert Queens from Nigeria beat home girls Reformers 5-4 in sizzling penalty flicks to claim women’s bronze.
Women’s defending champions Telkom Orange from Kenya had it tough, finishing fifth after beating Sharkia 4-0 in the play-offs. Telkom are due in Nairobi at midday on Monday.
Following their bubbly 3-3 draw in the regular league, Sharkia roared back to crush hosts Trustees 4-1 and retain the trophy they won last year in Nairobi.
Heartland broke the hearts of young Extinguishers when they summoned their experience to rally from 0-1 at the intervals and triumph 3-2 in another pulsating final.
Sharkia, synonymous in scoring from penalty corners, came out with wholly diverse approach with their dangerman Hassan Mohammed leading an all-field goals assault with a brace in quick succession.
All their goals were very well calculated from field play, with their strikers easily running rings around the hosts’ defenders.
Waleed Mahmoud gave the team from the land of Pharaohs the lead in the sixth minute after some quick tap from Mohammed Eddress and Amrou Metwalli.
But those were the only moments the champions had in the first half as Trustees launched some vicious attacks to claim four penalty corners, all in vain.
Pay for missed opportunities
A seemingly overwhelmed Trustees midfield delivered on some occasion but inspirational David Ghablah, Matthew Damale and youngster Jonnie Botsio lacked the final strike.
Trustees were to pay for their missed opportunities when Hassan Mohammed turned their defence inside out to score on the stroke of half time and two minutes into the second session.
Attempts to restructure their attacks met a fortified Pharaohs defence, with skipper Osama Abd-Elsamad firm in goal.
Sharkia were in a class of their own as Hossam Ezaat Gobran finished off some scintillating build-up from the right flank with a 50th-minute goal. Botsio pulled one back for Trustees in the 68 minute.
“We missed a lot of chances, especially penalty corners, when we met them first; hence we had to adjust to some new cocktail and it really worked well,” said Sharkia coach Yahya Debes.
Men – Final: Sharkia (Egypt) 4, Trustees (Ghana) 1;
Third/fourth play-off (Bronze): Police (Egypt) 3, Strathmore University (Kenya) 1; Fifth/Sixth play-off: Golden Sticks (Ghana) 4, Niger Flickers (Nigeria) 3
Women – Final: Heartland (Ghana) 3, Extinguishers (Ghana) 2; Third/fourth play-off(Bronze): Yobe Queens (Nigeria) 0 (5), Reformers (Ghana) 0 (4)