Telkom battle GRA in hair raising final: Ghanaian fans cross over Togo and Benin to enjoy action
They have eyes fixed on record 10th African title in Accra, Ghana, today.
A mother of all battles is expected today when African hockey champions Telkom take on arch-rivals Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the women’s final of the Africa Cup of Club Championships (ACCC).
With eyes fixed on a record 10th Africa title, the Kenyan girls need to be at their best to contain their opponents that enjoy home support from hockey enthusiasts who include from neighbours Togo and Benin – who have travelled to catch up with the action at Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana.
Telkom will be out to extend their dominance over the Ghanaians whom they have beaten in the past encounters, with the latest being Wednesday’s 1-0 win. With their title on the line, the nine-time champions will leave nothing to chance as they seek to extend their reign.
Telkom coach Jos Openda remained optimistic, saying his charges were ready to defend their crown. “We are here on a mission to successfully defend our title and we are determined to fight tooth and nail to make it a reality,” said Openda.
Openda, who has led Telkom to nine African titles -- five of which have been won since 2012 -- said they are looking to create goal-scoring chances in today’s final.
“We will not only create more scoring opportunities but also utilise all the opportunities. We expect a tough encounter. So there is need to control the match from the opening whistle,” he said.
GRA is a tough team, said Openda, adding that the opponents will get into the pitch seeking to avenge their past losses. “Our title is at stake and the girls know that our fate is in their hands. We will not allow room for mistakes until the final whistle. I think GRA not only want the title but are also looking to revenge against us,” he said.
Telkom have beaten GRA since 2012 and they will be hoping to extend their smooth run against the Ghanaian women’s league champions. They beat GRA 4-2 in a penalty shootout in 2012 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and have ruled continental shows since then. They won in Kampala in 2013, Bulawayo again 2014, Lusaka 2015 and Nairobi 2016.
Openda is expected to have veterans Jackline Mwangi and Terry Juma in starting eleven.