IN ACCRA, GHANA
Telkom’s reign as Africa Cup for Club women’s’ Hockey Champions came to an end Saturday after they went down 1-0 to hosts Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the final.
Roberta Sarfoa Owusu tapped home the only goal of the match three minutes to the end to settle the tight contest at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium and the hosts held on to claim their maiden title.
It was the first time Telkom, who were gunning for a record 10th title, have lost a match in any competition since a 1-0 defeat to Strathmore University Scorpions in a Kenya Hockey Union women’s Premier League match on April 5, 2014 at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi.
A devastated Telkom coach Jos Openda blamed the loss on a lapse in defence and declared that he would make changes on his striking department.
"It was a mistake in the defence, our keeper Cynthia punched the ball from going in but there was no one to clear the ball and their striker scored. Nonetheless, our motto of adopt and thrive is what we now do," expressed Openda.
“We will make an overhaul on our striking department and midfield”.
His GRA counterpart, Osei Boakye-Yihdom could not contain his joy, noting that his charges pushed Telkom all the way.
“We needed this so bad and playing at home also worked in our favour because our fans pushed us to go for the win and we got the late goal,” the coach said.
It was sweet revenge for GRA, who had lost their past six meetings against Telkom, including a 1-0 loss at this year’s tourney during the preliminary stage. Telkom also beat GRA in the 2012 and 2016 finals.
Buoyed by the home fans, GRA were quick off the blocks piling early pressure on Telkom. They have could not take advantage of five short corners as Akinyi in the Telkom goal kept them at bay.
Audrey Omaido and Lilian Aura missed scoring chances for Telkom after a lapse in the GRA defence.
In the second quarter, a fumble by Terry Juma nearly let in GRA forward Elizabeth Opoku, but Juma recovered to clear the danger and the teams went into halftime still goalless.
GRA continued to probe for the opener in the fourth quarter and were unable to make use of three short corners as Telkom survived. Telkom top scorer Jackline Mwangi was well marshalled by the GRA defence and the veteran striker had to drop deep to get the ball.
With the game seemingly headed for extra time, Opoku weaved her way past Telkom defenders before firing a shot which Akinyi saved with her right leg and Owusu reacted quickly to slot home the rebound.