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 Ghana takes on Nigeria, Uganda in Hockey AFCON opener on Monday

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  Accra, Jan 16, GNA – The 11th and eighth edition of the men and women Hockey Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) pushes-off on Monday, January 17, at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium as early as 7am.

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       Ghana’s representatives, the national male and female hockey team, Black Sticks, would be in action for their opening matches on Matchday One.

       The female team, Black Sticks Ladies, would come against West African rivals, Nigeria in a match that is expected to be filled with lots of drama and thrills on the turf.

        Head Coach of the Black Sticks (Ladies), Patrick Taylor, is targeting a place in the 2022 Commonwealth Games or at least a qualification to the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World Cup in Spain and Netherlands would begin that quest with stiff opposition from Nigeria.

         This hurdle would be a tough one to cross for the coach who would be parading relatively young and new players with a few experienced old players.

      Ghana is currently ranked 34th in the FIH rankings and number two in Africa while Nigeria is ranked 56 in the world and number six on the continent.

      However, just like any other sport, a bad day for Ghana would be an advantage for the Nigerians therefore the experienced players like striker Elizabeth Opoku of GRA, goalkeeper Bridget Azumah of GRA, captain of the team and defender Nafisatu Umaru from Ghana Police, striker Rachael Bamfo from Ghana National Fire Service would be expected to step up their game.

       Black Sticks Ladies would be made up; Nefisatu Umaru (captain), Serwaa Boakye, Cecilia Amoako, Ernestina Coffie, Abigail Boye, Martha Sarfoa, Mavis Boatemaa Berko, Juwaila Acquah, Rachael Bamfo, Joanita korwu and Benedicta Adjei.

       The rest are; Bridget Azumah, Charity Akoto, Adizatu Sulemana, Roberta Sarfo, Vivian Narkour, Maanyembim Brenya, Doris Antwi, Rafiatu Okine and Elizabeth Opoku.

     Coach Ebenezer Frimpong, Head Coach of the Black Sticks Men and his boys would take their turn on the artificial turf immediately after the official opening ceremony of the tournament in a bid to qualify for the FIH World Cup in India and the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

       Ghana won the maiden continental title in 1974 when it was hosted in Egypt and finished with a bronze in 2019 in South Africa.

        With a ‘host and win’ mentality, Coach Frimpng and his boys are determined to make a name for themselves especially playing against Uganda, who are ranked 91st in the world and number eight on the continent. The Ugandans would also be making their fourth appearance in the hockey AFCON.

       Black Sticks Men are represented by; Eugene Acheampong, Tyche Duisberg, Abbiw Charles, Salya Nsalbini (captain), Alfred Ntiamoah, Derrick Owusu, Stephen Ofosu, Luke Damalie, Samuel Akpene Agbelie, Matthew Damalie and Christopher Dogbe.

      The rest are; Asiedu George, Elikem Akaba, Baiden Micheal, Adjei Richard, Benjamin Kwofi, Francis Nii Lartey, Nicholas Nyarko, Elorm Akaba and Johnny Botsio.

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