In the afterglow of a tremendous sporting evening for South Africa as the Springboks lifted a fourth World Cup title, the South African Women’s Hockey team began their quest to earn a place at the Paris Olympics in 2024. Their opening fixture at the African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifier saw them face Southern African rivals Zimbabwe.
For South Africa it was a special moment for both Aphiwe Dimba and Paris-Gail Isaacs who earned their first international test caps, a wonderful moment for both the players and their families.
The South African women gave them a performance to remember as they systematically and impressively dismissed the challenge of the Zimbabweans. There were early warnings signs for the visitors with Quanita Bobbs and Stephanie Botha coming close. Those warnings signs weren’t heeded and it was Bobbs who opened the score with a cracking reverse stick strike. One quickly became two as Ntsopa Mokoena decided to play a game of anything you can do I can do better with her skipper. Tarryn Lombard then thought she would join the game and netted her own fine strike to make it 3-0 at the first break.
The same trio were the goal scorers as the South Africans doubled the score over the next 18 minutes. Mokoena fired home a hard rebound before Lombard somehow found the backboard from the most acute angle before Bobbs made it 6-0.
A lightning delay stopped the momentum of the South Africans somewhat as they waited nearly 30 minutes before the game resumed under a decent amount of rain. Although the sting was taken out the tail of the game a bit the South Africans continued to fight to put the Zimbabweans under pressure and found a 7th through Jean Leigh du Toit from a penalty corner.
Bianca Wood made it 8 before Bobbs popped up to complete her hat-trick, the first of the tournament and leave it to Marie Louw to score the final goal and make it 10-0 and set up a perfect start for the South Africans.
African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifiers (W) – Day 1 Results
Pool A – South Africa 10-0 Zimbabwe
Pool B – Kenya 4-0 Zambia
Pool B – Ghana 2-1 Namibia
African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifiers (W) – Day 2 Fixtures
08:00 – Pool B – Namibia vs. Zambia
14:00 – Pool B – Kenya vs. Ghana
18:00 – Pool A – South Africa vs. Nigeria