The South African men’s water polo team went down 17-1 to Italy in their first match of the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China on Monday.
Their defeat came a day after our women’s side suffered a 5-22 defeat to host nation China. They next play Italy on Tuesday.
Ray Kyte scored the only goal for our men’s side on Monday. The side were playing their first match since the beginning of this year. South Africa are ranked 15th in the world and Italy second.
The Italian goals came from Amaldo Deserti (four), Alex Giorgetti (three), Christian Prescuitti (two), Valentino Gallo (two), Amaurys Perez (two), while Deni Fiorentini, Matteo Deserti, Niccolo Figar and Pietro Figlioli all netted once.
After the match, South African coach Brad Rowe was full of praise for his team despite the loss to a team tipped as one of the possible winners of the water polo section of the championships.
ÔÇ£We predicted a 15-4 defeat by Italy, which is very close when you look at the score. We made some mistakes and Italy punished us. I’m not really disappointed with the performance of our team, we are in a very tough group. Ours is the ‘Group of Death’, considering that we have other powerhouses like Germany and United States of America.”
South Africa’s next game is against Germany on Wednesday and United States of America two days later. Italy meet USA on Wednesday and Germany on Friday.
Italy are topping Group D with two points, followed by Germany who have accumulated the same number of points after beating USA 9-7 in their opening match.
Swimming South Africa Chief Executive Officer Shaun Adriaanse, who is with the team in Shanghai, said of the match against Italy: ÔÇ£We could have done better if we employed the same tactics from the beginning of the match. I must say that the difference between the teams was experience and exposure to game time. This was clear as our team settled into the match in the last quarter which resulted in a much tighter contestÔÇØ
The open water swimming starts on Tuesday with the 10km event.
Meanwhile our synchronised swimmers failed to progress past the preliminary rounds of the competition. Laura Strugnell ended 33rd with a total of 61.800 points compared to Russian leader Natalia Ishchenko’s 97.700 in the solo category.
In the technical duets, Ishchenko teamed up with Svetlana Romashina to win the prelims with a total of 97.500 while our combo of Nicola David and Emma Manners-Wood ended 42nd with a┬á total of 61.500.
Then in the technical team section Russia’s team of eight tallied 97.700 points with South Africa’s team of Jessica Broughton, Shannon Crowder, Nicola David, Jessica and Natasha Domiro, Jessica Hayes Hill, Lucy McCarthy and Kerry Norden combined for a total of 64.400 points.