The South African men’s hockey team went down 2-1 to continental rivals Egypt at the FIH World Hockey League Semi-Finals in Johannesburg on Saturday.
It was a day of missed opportunities for the home team – they had 13 shots at goal, while Egypt had only two.
After going scoreless for almost 28 minutes, the score was 1-1 at halftime. Egypt scored first, with Houssam Ghobran getting the scoreboard going.
Less than 30 seconds later South Africa equalised with Dan Sibbald hitting the back of the goal-box after a brilliant pass from Daniel Bell.
It could have been 2-1 for the home team, but Ignatius Malgraff missed a great opportunity earlier in the second chukka.
The third chukka presented South Africa with some brilliant chances to score, especially one from Julian Hykes with an open goal-box, but it was Egypt who took the lead with Ghobran’s second goal of the match. With 15 minutes left, Egypt was leading 2-1.
It was a match in which the South Africans just didn’t get the basics right. The trapping skills and injections from penalty corners lacked accuracy on the day. The home team had more than enough opportunities to score field goals and penalty corners – South Africa got eight penalty corners.
South Africa are 15th on the world rankings and Egypt 19th.
On Sunday, the SA women’s team come up against the US at 16:00pm. The South Africans need to win this match if they want to stand any chance of advancing to the quarter-finals.
The SA men’s team are up against Belgium on Monday at 18:00pm. Belgium played in the final of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Unfortunately, the only way SA can reach the next round is by beating Belgium, who are in rampant form.
Picture of the SA men singing the national anthem courtesy of Jan Kruger/Getty Images for FIH)