Kenya women’s hockey team beat Nigeria to reach semi-final in Africa Cup of Nations

Despite a troubling start to the tournament, the team defied all the odds to reach the semi-finals on Thursday, January 20.

The opening match of the day in Pool B saw Kenya, who arrived late to the tournament and forfeited their opening game against Ghana, secure a second win as they defeated Nigeria 2-1.

Benedicta Johnson had given Nigeria an early lead on 11 minutes, but five minutes later Aurelia Opondo levelled for Kenya.

On form Opondo was also on the score sheet in Kenya’s 3-0 rout of Zambia on Wednesday.

With six minutes remaining Naomi Kemunto put Kenya ahead, meaning they won both group games after their delayed arrival, and set up a semi-final with a South Africa side who have looked in ominous form throughout the tournament.

“We are happy for what we have achieved so far. The aim was to progress and the girls have made us proud. This is proof to the world the talent that Kenya has,” team coach Jacquiline Mwangi said.

“We cannot rest on our laurels. We have to show hunger and focus in our next assignment but all in all, we are in the right direction,” Mwangi concluded.

Captain Rodha Kuira, added: “We played well and the players deserve credit. It was a tough match because of the quality of the opponent but three points mattered most.”

The day’s only other game came in men’s Pool A, with South Africa overcoming Kenya 2-1. All three goals came in a ten-minute spell with a brace from Nqobile Ntuli on 33 and 37 minutes putting South Africa into a 2-0 lead.

Constant Wakhura pulled a goal back three minutes later for Kenya but South Africa were able to hold on for the victory.

South Africa now top the pool with six points, with Kenya in second place on three and Namibia bottom with zero.

In the semi-final, the women side will play South Africa on Friday, January 21 while the men will battle for a place in the final against Egypt on Saturday, January 22.

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