Zambia hockey teams in must win matches

From DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO in Nanjing, China
AFTER a convincing 8-1 victory over Germany on Monday, the Zambia men’s hockey squad today takes on Pakistan in the last group match that will determine their stay in the competition while the women will be up against Germany.
As the hockey sides will be fighting for a quarter-final berth, swimmer Ralph Goveia will be trying his luck in the 50-metre butterfly category at the Natatorioum Swimming Pool.
The men’s side began the campaign with an uninspiring 2-7 loss to New Zealand but picked up form in the second game thrashing Germany 8-1.
“We have a strategy and we mean business. My boys have regained their confidence and we will take each game as it comes. We will remain focused and our immediate target is to get past the group stage. We will definitely go past this stage and plan for the quarters, semis and most importantly finals,” Zambia coach Elvis Bwalya said.
Shooter Alfred Mpande, who netted four goals in the bashing of Germany, will be Zambia’s hope for goals alongside Samson Tembo and skipper Blessings Lowole while Samuel Tagwireyi will provide cover for goalkeeper Richard Lungu.
The men are in Pool B with favourites New Zealand, Pakistan, Mexico and Germany.
The women are still and will have no choice but to win today’s Pool B match against Germany if they are to proceed.
The women team lost 8-0 to China and 10-5 to New Zealand.
And swimmer Goveia is optimistic of an improved performance in the 50-metre butterfly category.
Goveia, who beat his personal best time, finished 18th in the 100m butterfly category.
China’s Li Zhuhao, who clocked 52:97 seconds, and 15 others progressed to the next round.
Goveia improved his time to 56:16 seconds.
His personal best in the 50-metre butterfly category is 25:35 seconds and is optimistic of beating that record.
“I am more experienced in the 50 metres and I am pretty sure I will qualify. My hopes are in the 50 metres,” Goveia said.
His coach Ian Stephenson regretted Goveia’s exit from the 100 metre race.
“It is unfortunate that he didn’t qualify to the 100 metres last 16, but knowing his capabilities in 50 metres he will do it,” Stephenson said.

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