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29.04.2002 Sports News

Exchequers, Fire poised for medal glory

By Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo
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GHANA'S two prominent torch bearers in the Africa hockey championships, Exchequers and Fire, will make a strong claim for silver and gold respectively when the 14th edition curtain is lowered at the National Hockey Pitch this afternoon.

From day one, the two have never hidden their intentions to make Ghana proud in spite of the tough nature of the competition.

Indeed, there were major hitches along the way, which really tested their fitness for a medal after Exchequers stumbled to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Police Union, while Fire fell heavily to a 5-0 thumping to defending champions, Telkom of Kenya.

But determined as they were, the Ghanaians put those setbacks behind them and managed to maintain their focus to be counted among the elite in the final analysis.

And come this afternoon at the National Pitch, it will be all thrills when the nation's two medal prospects engage in do-or-die battles in search of top honours. At exactly 1.30 p.m., Fire Ladies, who have made an impressive work in their maiden appearance will wrestle Telkom for the gold after they fell a point short of the champions at the round-robin stage.

Apart from the medal, the match affords Fire a fine chance to pay the Kenyans back for the 5-0 defeat suffered earlier on.

On paper, the task appears daunting for the Ghanaians as champions really die hard, as the East Africans have so far proven.

But Fire are expected to go all-out as they will be guaranteed the silver medal in case of defeat. Incidentally, Exchequers will also be on the battle front against dethroned champions, Sharkia.

The match which is scheduled to get underway at 3.30 p.m will surely be a fitting climax to the excitement-filled week-long fiesta.

With the gold deal already wrapped up by mighty Police, the two will be at each other's throat for the silver.

Sharkia, who were widely tipped to tie with their Ghanaian opponents on nine points with a possible victory over Federal Flickers of Nigeria yesterday, are obviously wild about the title loss and will be out to sacrifice Exchequers as compensation.

A titanic duel, therefore, awaits fans as the Ghanaian bankers can well balance the sheet with a good performance which can at least earn them the bronze as it happened in Namibia four years ago.

That will, however, not be the end of Ghana's medal hopes as Prisons are expected to set the pace with a bronze medal when they clash with Sharkia in the ladies third place match at 7 a.m. this morning.

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