Bulawayo - The South Africa women's hockey team opened their Africa Cup Olympic Games Qualifier tournament with a 9-0 victory over Kenya at the Khumalo Hockey Stadium in Bulawayo on Saturday.
The Kenyans started well and Pauline Naise gave the favourites a fright early on, as the South Africans took a bit of time to settle down.
Kenya’s defence was nothing if not stubborn in the face of wave upon wave of South African attacking forays with debutants Nicole Kemp and Bernadette Coston prominent.
The ever-present Shelley Russell was cutting through on the left and debutant Catherine McNulty scored twice midway through the half.
Captain Marsha Marescia, in her 250th Test for South Africa, put the favourites 3-0 up after a good build-up by Kim Hubach.
Then it was Sentraal, Bloemfontein schoolgirl Tanya Britz’s turn to get on the scoresheet with a neat deflection while Marescia demonstrated why she has twice made the World All Star team with a beautiful goal.
At the break, South Africa led 5-0 but it changed one minute into the second half, when Damons finished well and went on to added another two in the first quarter of the second half (8-0).
A stunning piece of stickwork from Cindy Botha made it 9-0, 12 minutes from the end.
South Africa were technically, tactically and physically too good for the Kenyans who tried throughout but simply could not stay with the pace.
SA keeper Hanli Hattingh had very little to do but worked hard in directing her composed defenders from the back.
Women: South Africa v Ghana (Monday); South Africa v Zimbabwe (Thursday); finals (Sunday).
Men: South Africa v Zimbabwe (Sunday); South Africa v Ghana (Monday); South Africa v Egypt (Wednesday); South Africa v Kenya (Friday); finals (Sunday).