Collin Matiza Sports Editor
IN a disappointing case of so near and yet so far at the ongoing 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Zimbabwe missed out on the quarter-finals of the junior women’s field hockey 5s event after they played out a 3-3 draw with Namibia in their final Pool B match on Thursday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
After having beaten Mexico 2-1 in their penultimate Pool B match on Wednesday, Zimbabwe needed nothing short of another victory against Namibia on Thursday inorder for them to clinch a place in the quarter-finals of this competition.
But according to reports from Buenos Aires, they came short after they were held to a draw by their fellow Africans who are now through to the last eight at their expense.
Zimbabwe, who lost their opening Pool B matches to Australia, Poland and China, managed to salvage four points at these Games after beating Mexico on Wednesday before sharing the spoils with Namibia in their thrilling 3-3 draw on Thursday.
China topped the group with a maximum 15 points after winning all their Pool B matches and were followed by Australia and Poland, who both garnered seven points, while Namibia finished in fourth place with five points after their 3-3 draw with Zimbabwe to sneak into the quarter-finals ahead of their fellow Africans.
At this year’s Youth Olympic Games, the field hockey 5s competition consists of men’s and women’s events. Both events have the same format and rules. In the preliminary round, 12 teams were divided into two pools of six teams. Each team played every other team in the pool (single round-robin).
The teams ranked first to fourth in each pool play in the quarter-finals, while the teams ranked fifth in each pool play in the classification match 9-10 and the teams ranked sixth in each pool play in the classification match 11-12.
The winners of the quarter-final matches play in the semi-finals and the losers play in the classification 5-8 matches. The semi-final winners play in the gold medal match and the losers play in the bronze medal match.
The winners of the classification 5-8 matches play in the classification match 5-6 and the losers in the classification match 7-8.
In their final Pool B match against Namibia on Thursday, the Tendayi Maredza-coached Zimbabwe went to the breather leading 2-1 through two field goals by Alexei Terblanche in 9th and 10th minute. The Namibians had opened the scoring in the 5th minute via a Taramarie Myburgh field goal.
And after going to the breather trailing 1-2, Namibia then equalised in the 15th minute through Kaela Schimming’s strike before their captain Kiana-Che Cormack fired in another field goal barely a few seconds later to help her team to take a 3-2 lead.
But Zimbabwe captain Simone Herbst found the equaliser for her side with a well-taken field goal in the 16th minute but this was not good enough to book her side a place in the quarter-finals as they finished in fifth place in Pool B with four points, one behind Namibia who managed to sneak into the last eight.