Heartland beats Extinguishers to lift African Hockey Club title
Heartland of Nigeria came from behind to beat Ghana’s Extinguishers 3-2 on Saturday in the Ladies final of the 22nd Hockey Africa Cup of Club Championship at the National Hockey Stadium in Accra.
Christiana Bulus notched home from a penalty corner in the closing stages of the game as the Nigerians cruised to their fifth triumph in the annual championship after 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
The clash, which served a repeat of the 2004 and 2008 final, lived up to billing with Extinguishers failing once again in their bid to land the title.
Following series of stellar performances at the group phase, the Ladies team of the Ghana National Fire Service was expected to cap it with the title but they flattered when it mattered most.
Extinguishers paid the price for sloppy defending despite being in the lead twice with many short corners in the first half which they failed to convert.
With the home crowd rallying behind them, the Fire Ladies shot into the lead on 19 minutes through Rachael Bamfo, who finished off after Beatrice Darko hit her through.
Three minutes from recess, the Nigerians leveled through Onyadum Justina but hardworking Ramatu Abass restored Extinguisher’s lead on 57 minutes with a penalty stroke.
But the lead will last for only two minutes as Heartland drew parity through Nnanna Chinyere before Bulus sealed victory two minutes from time.
It was all jubilation for the Nigerians who climbed to their fourth title while it was a moment of despair for the Extinguishers team as well as leaving the aspirations of a Ghanaian club emerging champions a dream.
In the third place match, Yobe Queens of Nigeria also defeated Ghana’s Reformers 5-4 on penalties whilst Telecom Orange of Kenya whacked Sharkia Ladies of Egypt 4-0 for the fifth place.