Ashanti triumph in inter regional hockey
After 6 days of a thrilling and an intriguing competition, yesterday 21st August saw the 3rd place match and the grande finale taking place at the University of Cape Coast Hockey Pitch.
The defending champions, Greater Accra who had lost the opportunity to defend their trophy against Ashanti in the group phase, however managed to place second in Group B beating the likes of Eastern, Upper East and Northern regions. They played Volta Region who defied all odds to place second to Central in Group A ahead of Western region.
The third place match was an interesting one, as both teams were poised to return home with at least a bronze medal. Greater Accra knowing they could not fall to Volta as defending champions in this tournament, played a buffalo’s game and carried the day as skipper Gatifialor Derrick, registered a brace to put his team in a comfortable lead. Volta quickly pulled one back in the early minutes of the second half but their defense gave in to the sharp attack of their opponents again in the 56th minute. The 3rd place match ended 3-1 in favor of Greater Accra.
Gatifialor Derrick emerged Top Scorer of the tournament with 6 field goals.
In an interview with Joshua Kweku Peprah (captain of the Greater Accra side), he expressed discontent of their third position and believe they lost the title narrowly to their Arch-rivals Ashanti in their Group debut.
He added, Greater Accra will go back, plan and return strong for Bolgatanga 2019. Volta on the other hand were impressed with their performance after being absent from the top four positions for several years.
The grand finale saw Central take on Ashanti in a fierce encounter with both teams optimistic of winning during the pre-match interview. Central Region however dominated the first half and most minutes in the second half. Their conversion rate was so poor and this was clear from their inability to make use of the 15 penalty corners awarded . The Ashantis on the other hand, struggled to penetrate the defense of the Central team in the first half but eventually managed to do so in the second half.
After a barren first half, both teams arrived much prepared in the second half to seal a one time victory. Tempers kept rising in the second half when both teams were taken over by anxiety, even through to the technical bench of both teams. The deadlock was finally broken in the 52nd minute when Owusu Acheaw latched on to a poor defensive play to slot home into an empty post giving Ashanti Region the lead. Spectators of both teams kept growing furious especially from some umpires decisions which they saw to be subjective.
In the 59th minute, the Central team scored a rather controversial goal which was disallowed by the 1st umpire, Ebenezer Darko Jnr. Spectators flaunted the pitch at the umpires decision. Unfortunately, the game couldn’t continue and had to be put to a halt. Decision taken by the coordinator and other present dignitaries, was for both team coaches and captains to present a report on the match.
Ashanti and Eastern qualified from Group B with 12 and 8 points into the finals. After 4 matches played, Ashanti topped winning all matches, scoring 15 goals and conceding 0 whilst Eastern placed second winning 2, drawing & loosing 1, scoring 6 and conceding 4.
Group A was represented in the finals by Central and Greater as 1st and 2nd respectively. Central won 3, drew 1, scored 8 and conceded 0 whilst Greater Accra won 2, drew 2, scored 3 and conceded 0.
Third place match saw Eastern beat Greater Accra with 10 minutes to full-time. Felicia Ameyaa got her 3rd goal of the competition to seal her team’s spot in third place.
Ashanti narrowly beat Central in the 35th minute with Charity Akoto scoring the only goal of the match. 2015 title winners – Central girls broke down in tears as the umpire blew the last whistle. Ashanti girls emerged champions of the 30th inter regional hockey festival with a long drought of the trophy.
Awards and Presentation
The awards ceremony could not take place at the hockey pitch. It was scheduled for today at the Cape Coast Stadium at 10:30am.
Earlier before the awards presentation, the verdict was read and Ashanti were declared champions in the boys category.
Below are the Final positions
3rd Greater Accra
7th Upper East
8th Brong Ahafo
9th Upper West
4th Greater Accra
6th Upper East
7th Brong Ahafo
10th Upper West
Isports360 Most Valuable Player (Boys) – Benjamin Kwofie (Central)
Isports360 Most Valuable Player (Girls) – Charity Akoto (Ashanti)
Isports360 Top Scorer (Boys) – Gatifialor Derrick (Greater Accra)
Isports360 Top Scorer (Girls) – Owusuaa Margaret (Ashanti Region)
Isports360 Most Promising Player (Boys) – Avozaga Gideon (Upper West)
Isports360 Most Promising Player (Girls) – Ibrahim Samjrah (Northern)
Isports360 Beat Goalkeeper (Boys) – Saaibu Abdul Games (Upper East)
Isports360 Beat Goalkeeper (Girls) – Nutro Esther (Volta)