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Clark on SA’s win

By Jon Cook
in Kakamigahara, Japan

South Africa men’s hockey team head coach Gregg Clark said after his team had won the Olympic Qualifier Tournament final 2-1 against Japan at Gifu Green Stadium here on Sunday that the road to qualifying for London 2012 had been long and difficult.

“I am elated and chuffed for the players, winning this final is a very satisfying achievement,” said a visibly moved Clark.

“In our life cycle as a team we are still learning how to handle games where a team comes hard at us and puts us under a lot pressure, as due to financial constraints we play so few matches and spend so little time together compared to other teams.

“We did get a few things wrong┬á but the guys will learn from it, we will get better, we came through strong, the character in this team is strong, we wanted it really badly and there were loads and loads of things we did really well that made the difference in the end.

“The support back home has been amazing and I also want to thank a lot of people who are not with us here who have done an incredible amount of work behind the scenes. Without them this success wouldn’t have been possible.

“To mention two, Marq Roberts and Tony Welthagen have been the driving force in raising funds over and above what SA Hockey Association CEO Marissa Langeni has been doing. The SAHA executive have assisted us with regards to certain specific issues and there are loads of players who aren’t here who have contributed to our process over the last couple of years.

“There are a lot of unsung heroes who share a massive part in this victory today and on a personal note I would like to dedicate this success to my father, Bryan Clark.”