Uganda men’s national hockey team, Hockey Cranes lost 2-1 to Zimbabwe during matchday two of the Africa Paris 2024 Olympics Qualifier on Monday in Pretoria, South Africa.
Zimbabwe got ahead first when Kanyangarara Mutsawashe slotted home a penalty corner in the 24th minute. Uganda responded two minutes later when Colline Batusa levelled matters through a penalty corner.
When it seemed like the two sides were headed for a stalemate, Hockey Cranes fell short in the fourth quarter and conceded a penalty corner in the 47th minute as Tadiwanashe Kamusewu reinstated Zimbabwe’s lead and earning them victory.
“We lost because of some technical issues, some individual play and also the nature of the weather, since yesterday it’s been very cold…and we’ve not been training in such kind of weather,” Hockey Cranes coach Innocent Raskara said.
The loss denied Hockey Cranes automatic qualification to the semifinals of the tournament (should they have won) but all is not lost as there is still one game to play at the group stage level.
Uganda plays South Africa on Wednesday evening, Tuesday is rest day. The hosts have been ruthless so far, beating Zimbabwe 10-00 in the Group A opener on Sunday and later condemning Nigeria, who forfeited day one 8-2 on day two.
“We are confident that we will be very prepared to face South Africa as we are ready to polish the areas we have been making,” Hockey Cranes coach Innocent Raskara added.
The South Africans have all but mathematically secured their place in the semi-finals and a step closer to challenging for the spot at Paris 2024 on Sunday.
With Hockey Cranes facing an uphill task against the hosts, their eyes will also be on the Zimbabwe vs Nigeria encounter. Should they (Uganda) lose to South Africa by a small margin and Nigeria beats Zimbabwe by a ‘favourable’ margin, then the East African side will make it to the semifinals of the competition.
South Africa leads men’s Group A with six points and a whooping goal difference of 16. Uganda who earned a walkover against Nigeria on Sunday are second with three points and a goal difference of 4. Zimbabwe are third with three points and a goal difference of -9 while Nigeria are at the bottom with no point and a goal difference of -11.
Africa Paris 2024 Olympics Qualifier
Men’s Group A Results
Uganda 5-0 Nigeria
South Africa 10-00 Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe 2-1 Uganda
South Africa 8-2 Nigeria
Men’s Group A Table
- South Africa – 6 points, GD 16
- Uganda – 3 points, GD 4
- Zimbabwe, 3 points, GD -9
- Nigeria, 0 points, GD -11