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10.07.2009 Hockey

Ghana 2009 hockey tourney gets underway todayIt`ll be drama, suspense all the way

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The national male hockey side, the Black Sticks, will pit their strength against defending champions South Africa in the second match of the Hockey African Cup for Nations, as the competition gets underway today at the newly constructed hockey Stadium in Accra.

The South African's arrived at the Kotoka International Airport last Wednesday evening, brimming with optimism to retain the covetous title.

“We are here to win the competition, the only team that could pose a threat to us is the Egyptian team, which we have devised an antidote for,” the confident South African coach Gregg Clark revealed on arrival.

Clad in a clean green suit, the team (Male and female) on board a South African flight number SA052 touched down at 9.30pm and was led by a motorcade to their Novotel hotel base, in Accra.

Their high profile stick work makes them a fearsome side, and they start the competition as favourites, having won the 4-Nation Elektrostal Cup in Russia by trouncing Canada 8-1 in the final a few days ago.

Their pedigree notwithstanding, the Ghanaians will bank their hopes on their fanatic home crowd to offer their South Africa opponents a stiff opposition in the game that bullies off shortly after the Nigeria-Egypt opener.

Today's games will be preceded by a colourful opening ceremony that is expected to give a foretaste of what is expected to rock the nation in the next ten days.

The Ghanaian ladies take their turn tomorrow when they battle the Egyptian counterparts in the second game of the day with South Africa facing Nigeria in the first game.

On Sunday, South Africa will cross swords with Egypt in a game described by experts as the final before the final, while Nigeria play Ghana in the second game.

In the ladies category, South Africa will clash with Ghana, and the competition will go on recess on Monday. Action, however, returns on Tuesday.

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