Nigeria surprise Ghana in Hockey West Africa Finals
The maiden edition of the West Africa Hockey 5s came to an end at the Theodosia Okoh hockey stadium with mouth-watering encounters. Nigeria pipped Ghana to pick the ultimate in the boys division with Ghana completing a hat-trick over Togo in the girls division to win gold. Spectators were treated to entertaining hockey with good talent display from players in both finals.
The match day started with Ivory Coast playing host to Togo in the boys bronze medal match. Both teams were eager to get hold of a bronze medal for the first time participating in an international tournament. The game started with chances created at both ends but it was Togo who equalized first. the Ivorians fought very hard and got their equalizer moments later. A missed penalty stroke by Ivory Coast in the 7th minute kept the scoreline 1-1 at the end of the first session.
The Ivorians came back a better side in the second and final session and their hard work paid off with two goals. The match ended 3-1 in favour of ivory coast picking the bronze medal.
The girls final game was up with host Ghana taking on neighbours Togo. After beating them twice in the competition earlier, this was a match tagged an easy win for the Ghanaians.
The host took control from the start and were 2-0 up in the 3rd minute. The game got out of hands as the first session ending 4-1 in Ghana’s favour.
Ghana added two more goals in the second session to take the game beyond the reach of Togo. The final whistle went as Ghana won 9-1 to win the first edition of the West Africa hockey 5s, girls division.
The last match of the day was the game many were eager to see as Nigeria locked horns with Ghana in the boys final. The odds however favored the host who had scored 28 goals in two matches with their opponents managing 18 goals in two matches.
The host took off in the 3rd minutes but gave away their lead 60 seconds later as Nigeria leveled. An end to end, nerve cracking game saw both teams rue chances with Ghana the biggest culprits. Spectators of both teams were kept on their feet with pressure from both ends. Ghana led 3-2 at the end of the first session.
The boys in green took control of the game in the second session mounting pressure on their opponents. They got the equalizer and went ahead to take the lead going into the final session.
Two more goals in the final session ensured that the trophy heading to Nigeria. Ghana managed to pull one back but wasn’t enough as Nigeria won the game 6-4.