Zimbabwe’s U18 A Girls’ Hockey Team brought their full game to the turf yesterday (30 August 2015) in a nail biting last minute fight to defeat Zambia’s U18A team. Trailing 0-1 with Zambia dominating the field and five minutes left on the clock, Zimbabwe scored twice in the last minutes of the game for a 2-1 victory in the official test match.
With five minutes left of the clock, Zimbabwe’s U18A Captain Jessica Dollar of Peterhouse Girls scored a triumphant wide goal to tie the game. Forward Tinayeishe Elijah then crashed in another goal just before the ending buzzer to bring victory to the Zimbabwean side. Goal keeper Androniki Hiripis of Hellenic Academy also had an excellent game, fending off multiple shots on goal from the aggressive Zambian side.
The U18A victory by Zimbabwe was a dramatic conclusion to four days of friendly test matches organized by Chisipite Senior School and held at Arundel School between Zimbabwe and neighboring Zambia, with four Zimbabwe U16 and U18 A and B teams playing together with two Zambia U16A and U18A teams.
Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe U16A was defeated by Zambia’s U16A team 0-2 in the other international test match. Zimbabwe had numerous shots on goal, but failed to convert their opportunities to score. In the first match of the afternoon, Zimbabwe’s U18B showed their experience to dominate the Zimbabwe U16B in a 4-0 encounter.
Saturday (29 August) was another action packed day of quality hockey. Zimbabwe’s U18A team was on point, with their forwards showering the goals to defeat the Zambian U16A team 7-0. However, Zambia’s U18A team showed equal prowess, hammering the Zimbabwe U18B 0-5. The most even game of tactical hockey yesterday was a 1-1 draw between Zimbabwe’s U16A and U16B sides, with many school teammates playing against one another.
The Zimbabwean players and coaches agreed that Zambia brought a very high quality game with them and proved to be an uphill challenge for the girls on their home turf. The organizers hope that several more Southern African teams will join in August 2016 to grow to a sub-regional international girls hockey test match tournament.