Although disappointed that they were not meeting one another for a higher position in the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup, both teams were determined to end the tournament on a high and as the top performing African team, in a repeat of the African Hockey Junior African Cup.
The opening quarter was a tentative battle between the two, but it was South Africa who had the upper hand without converting their early domination. Five penalty corner opportunities went astray through a combination of ineffective finishing and robust defending, giving head coach Lenise Marais a couple of grey hairs as a quarter ended goalless.
Those grey hairs may very quickly have turned black again in the second quarter when South Africa struck and doubled the scoring within four minutes of each other. Shanna Medonca netted from the sixth South African penalty corner, with a straight forward shot that beat the keeper with pace. It was Malikah Hamza who doubled the score, but the plaudits belong to Augousti for a lung bursting run into the circle to set up Hamza, herself showing remarkable maturity to wait on the spin before tapping home. Despite another five penalty corners the South Africans could not add to the score and it was 2-0 at the half-time break.
South Africa wanted to show better incisiveness in the attacking end of the turf and did that early in the third when Malikah Hamza netted her second to stretch the lead to 3-0. Zimbabwe to their credit continued to fight and pulled a goal back with their first shot of the game from Elijah Tinodiwanashe. 3-1 at the end of the third quarter.
South Africa would re-establish the three-goal cushion when Hamza converted from a penalty corner to complete the hat-trick in the opening two minutes of the final quarter. Ntsopa Mokoena found Laiken Brisset on the counter attack and the striker rounded the keeper and tapped it home to make it 5-1. There was time for Malikah Hamza to fire in one more goal to bag a fourth after reacting first to the loose ball and firing home.
As the whistle blew to end the match and draw a curtain on the 2023 campaign it was the South Africans undeniably the queens of Africa and confirming 13th place in the tournament.
by South Africa