Dirkie Chamberlain scored a hat-trick for South Africa's women ©Getty Images

South Africa’s women took a big step to being crowned International Hockey Federation (FIH) African champions by thrashing Kenya 12-0 in Johannesburg today.

Both countries went into the clash with 100 per cent records in the round-robin competition, but the hosts blew away their opposition to move to the top of the group.

Lilian du Plessis, Bernadette Coston and Candice Manuel all hit hat-tricks with Dirkie Chamberlain scoring twice and Celia Evans also netting.

With the winners of the round-robin crowned as African champions and earning a spot at Rio 2016, South Africa now join Ghana on four wins from four with the two countries set to meet in a crunch clash in the final round of fixtures.

Celia Evans found the target as Kenya's women were well beaten
Celia Evans found the target as Kenya's women were well beaten ©Getty Images

The home side will be heavy favourites as they have not yet conceded a goal at the tournament, while managing to net at the other end 38 times.

Ghana, who did not play today, have only conceded once and have scored on 19 occasions in their four matches.

South Africa are due to meet Tanzania and Ghana play Kenya in penultimate matches tomorrow, with both contenders expected to win.

Elsewhere in the women’s tournament, Nigeria beat winless Tanzania 10-0 to claim a first victory, while Namibia beat Zimbabwe 2-1.

In the men’s event, South Africa had already confirmed their place in the semi-finals but underlined their status as Group A winners by thrashing Namibia 11-0.

That sets up a semi-final clash with Group B runners-up Kenya, while second placed Group A side Ghana, who beat Zimbabwe 4-2 today, will meet Egypt.

The winners of the men’s tournament will also be awarded a spot at Rio 2016.

South Africa are again favourites having won the last six tournaments.

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