Sidmouth’s Gus McVey bags medal at South African tournament
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth resident and Zimbabwe ladies’ hockey team head coach Gus McVey has recently returned from South Africa having enjoyed more success.
Gus led the team into the bronze medal berth at the Africa Olympic Qualifying tournament held in Stellenbosch, Cape Town at the beginning of August.
Gus says: "It was a great way to end what had certainly been a challenging two months in Zimbabwe fraught with many challenges!
"This is the highest position the country had finished in the African tournament since 1990!"
He continued: "What's more, is also means that the countries world ranking of 66 will change and give the team a higher standing.
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"The ladies trained hard in the build up training four times a week when you have fuel and power shortages takes a lot of dedication when you are a totally self-funded team."
Two days before the tournament was due to start, Zimbabwe were advised that two countries had pulled out of the tournament and so that meant the team would have to play against all the other teams.
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It also means that Zimbabwe would have to play both the number one and two ranked teams in their first two games!
First up, against Ghana, the contest was a very physical one and, at the start of the final quarter the score was 1-1, but two late goals for Ghana consigned Gus's team to an opening match defeat.
Next up, arguably the toughest game of the entire tournament as they took on the host nation and African champions, world ranked number 16, South Africa.
However, the game turned out to be the best of the tournament! The Zimbabwean ladies played their hearts out, going down 2-0.
This was the lowest score against South Africa since 1999 and the best result against South Africa for any team in the tournament - all the other teams that came up against them lost by five goals or more!
Game three saw Zimbabwe defeat Kenya 2-0 and then they played a Namibia side they led 3-0 before two late goals set up a frenetic finish, but Zimbabwe held on to win 3-2 and secure the bronze medal!
Gus says: "Had we won the tournament it would have been a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. However, simply to win a medal of any colour is really quite an achievement. Thank you to all who followed, supported and helped me and my team have a chance of an Olympic dream."