South Africa pushed the English all the way in a pulsating Bronze Medal Match at Birmingham but the hosts sealed it with a professional second half display to put the South African challenge to bed. 

On the 4 August 2002 South Africa took on Pakistan in Manchester in the Bronze Medal Match of the Commonwealth Games. 20 years and four days later they got their second chance to take on the Bronze Medal Challenge in Birmingham. Taking on a much fancied England ranked 6th in the World, it would be an underdog performance required by the South Africans, which they are well accustomed to. They were also taking on their former coach Paul Revington who is the head coach of the English. 

England started the game by holding significant amount of possession and they were dominating the territory as well without creating too many opportunities. In fact it was the South Africans who created the first big chance of the game when their counter attacking force won a penalty corner, but Dan Bell’s drag was well charged down. 

England then showed a moment of quality to break into the circle and win a penalty corner of their own. As the Indians had found in the semi-final the English Gowan Jones produced a superb save to keep the score level. He was called on seconds later to make another save as England really started to really up their dominance. 

In the final minute of the quarter Dayaan Cassiem created a shot from a tight angle that was easily save, but a mazy run from the South African won South Africa their second penalty corner of the game with 25 seconds on the clock. Guise-Brown shot was saved by Ollie Payne and the rebound from Bili Ntuli was saved well too as the quarter came to an end. 

England showed same enterprising running but the South Africans were up to the challenge and a bad tackle outside the circle from England gave South Africa a third go from the penalty corner. This time it was a bullet from Matt Guise-Brown to give the African Champions the lead. 

Frustratingly for the South Africans they held the lead for less than 90 seconds as Reece Smith made some space in a crowded circle that found its way into the back of the goal to restore parity. But the South Africans would have none of it and forced their way back into the lead. Keenan Horne drove into the circle found Ryan Julius who passed it to Mustapha Cassiem and the hotshot fired it in brilliantly to restore the lead. 

But once again England stormed back and levelled through a well taken strike by Liam Ansell. His low powerful drive was unstoppable for Gowan Jones, but the South Africans were disappointed with the amount of space they gave the English striker. 

England won a penalty corner as the pulasting second quarter continued to produce efforts aplenty. This time Sam Ward was on hand to convert and give England their first lead of the game.  South Africa won another penalty corner after an intentional foul on Dayaan Cassiem. Connor Beauchamp fired it narrowly over the top. 

South Africa were continuing to challenge the backline of the English and were rewarded with another penalty corner. A variation for the South Africans caught the English off guard and Bili Ntuli’s deflection brought it back to 3-3 at the end of the half! 

Early in the second half England received a green card and South Africa were hoping to capitalise on the extra player. They were not able to as the goal scoring spectacle of the second quarter didn’t continue in the opening half of the third quarter. Ryan Julius had a shot for the South Africans but it was well saved as England received another green card. 

But England won a penalty corner with a foot in the South African circle as they had their first real opportunity of the quarter after 10 minutes. The shot from ward was well saved and he made another brilliant save from the follow up but Roper popped up on the rebound with a tremendous finish that gave England the lead again. 

England were awarded another penalty corner for an off the ball incident. But it was an easy save for Gowan Jones. South Africa created a few half chances but the third quarter finished 4-3 to the hosts. 

Early in the final quarter Dayaan Cassiem was offered space created a shot on goal before Keenan Horne won the penalty corner. Guise-Brown beat Payne in goal but found Rushmere on the line who made a wonderful save. 

Griffiths should have made it 5-3 from a great break but Griffiths fired wide after good pressure from Gowan Jones. But it was 5-3 shortly afterwards. A goalmouth scramble managed to get through Jones and bobble into the side of the goal. 

With six minutes remaining the South Africans pulled Gowan Jones off as they looked for a way back into the game.  They had to defend a penalty corner from the English but they were making it tougher with the lack of discipline seeing SA play with a player short. 

England were awarded a stroke in the last few minutes as a penalty corner struck Matt Guise-Brown on the line. Zach Wallace came forward and finished to all but secure the bronze medal for the hosts. 

South Africa had the chance for a consolation with a late penalty corner but aa mistrap saw the opportunity go and England had secured the bronze medal.

The South African men may not have won the Bronze Medal today, but over the course of the tournament they won the hearts of the hockey family again. The world has sat up to take notice of this side as they have contested with the best and held their heads up high.

South Africa’s Hockey Men produced an outstanding display to push India all the way in the Commonwealth Games Semi-Final. A brilliant display from Gowan Jones inspired his team as they fell narrowly short of defeating the Asian Champions in a 3-2 thriller. 

South Africa made their Commonwealth Games Semi-Final return for the first time since 2002 this evening. It was already a wonderful achievement from the South Africans in getting this far but the challenge ahead was a massive one. They were taking on the Olympic Bronze medallists India, ranked fourth in the world, a team they last beat in the 11th place Playoff of the 2012 London Olympics. 

The story of the opening quarter was simply Gowan Jones. The South African shot stopper was in superb form to deny at least five good opportunities with the confidence that inspires the defenders around you. India were disappointed with their lack of finishing but in truth that would be disrespectful to to Jones who was immense on open play and even better at the penalty corner. 

The second quarter saw South Africa start to trouble the Indians with their counter attacking play, led by Dayaan Cassiem, which earned them their first penalty corner. It was well saved by India but South Africa won another and hope was starting to grow. This time it was superbly charged down and the score remained goalless. 

The Indians were aware that this would be far from easy and they would need something special to beat Jones who made another good save in the build up, they found it through Abishek. The striker turned, created his own space and fired low into the bottom right corner past a diving Jones to give the Indians the lead. 

The South Africans continued to offer a threat to India on the counter but the Indians looked very dangerous in the attacking third. They probably got the goal their performance deserved just before the half-time break. Mandeep Singh netted his fifth field goal of the tournament as he found a pocket of space and fired low and hard into the goal. 2-0 was the score at the break. 

Within the opening exchanges of the second half India were looking for a penalty corner through a referral. The video umpire somehow gave a penalty corner though not many were sure why. The penalty corner was well charged down. 

The South Africans though won another penalty corner through Dayaan Cassiem, who was looking dangerous whenever he went forward. This time the South Africans landed the blow as Guise-Brown shot was saved and Ryan Julius finished superbly. 2-1 the score and belief in the South African camp. 

Tevin Kok fired a ball across the circle but nobody was there and India thought it was 3-1 but Gowan Jones produced his best save of the day to keep it at only a one goal deficit. Ryan Julius showed quick thinking to win a penalty corner. Connor Beauchamp was the man to fire it in but once again the charge down was superb. 

Dayaan Cassiem then won South Africa another penalty corner with quick decisive running as India appeared truly ruffled by the South Africans. It was a poor effort from Beauchamp as the Indian defence was dialled in at the corners. 

It was Indias chance to test at the corners but they met the incredible wall that is Gowan Jones who pulled off an incredible save adding to his catalogue of efforts today. India received a green card and South Africa immediately sought to create an opportunity but the Indian defence answered the questions the were being asked. 2-1 the score at the end of the third quarter. 

The final quarter started with India looking to dominate the possession and dictate the play, but the South African counter attack still posed a credible threat with the likes of Bili Ntuli, Tevin Kok and the Cassiem brothers constantly causing issues on attack.  8 minutes remained and there was just one goal in the game. 

Another circle entry from the South Africans failed to connect in the circle as the hope continued to grow for the African Champions. Six minutes remained. 

India were keeping possession and with four minutes remaining South Africa went for the jugular by pulling off goalkeeper Gowan Jones in an attempt for the extra player. As South Africa broke India wasted their referral to deny South Africa a break and India ran up the other end and Guise Brown had to make the last ditch tackle to deny India a goal, he had to get the yellow card too and with just two minutes remaining South Africa would have to defend a PC without a keeper. They wouldn’t and India made it 3-1. 

South Africa continued to show tremendous heart in trying to get back and they did as Mustapha Cassiem pulled one back with 1 minute remaining. South Africa were asking for a referral in the final minute with just 8 seconds on the clock, but it was unsuccessful and India sealed the spot in the final. 

South Africa will now play for the bronze medal but they leave this game with their heads held high 

The SA Hockey Men showed class and heart in defeating New Zealand to keep the hope of a medal and a top 4 finish alive. They led 3-1, were pegged back to 3-3 before Connor Beauchamp punished the opponents with a brilliant and brutal penalty corner. 

South Africa and New Zealand locked horns in a virtual quarter final. A draw would be enough for the Black Sticks while South Africa had to get the victory to progress to the medal rounds. They were up against a good New Zealand side who were coached by all time top South African goal scorer Greg “Beefy” Nicol. 

South Africa won the first major battle of the game. Superb quick thinking from Bili Ntuli won a penalty corner for the African Champions who were looking to start the game on the front foot. And they got exactly that as Matt Guise-Brown fired the ball wonderfully into the backboard. 

New Zealand were creating a couple of half chances but had not tested Gowan Jones in the South African goal in the opening exchanges, but they were firing a few warning shots in the South African direction. But it was South Africa though that doubled the lead through vice captain Keenan Horne picked up a rebound from a deflection, and fired it home with ferocious intent. 

New Zealand won their first penalty corner of the game and just like South Africa converted with an unstoppable shot past Gowan Jones. The pace and direction of Sam Lane’s flick was textbook in perfection. 

The game had a very open feel to it as a South African circle entry was quickly followed by a New Zealand penalty corner as Taine Paton slipped and was adjudged to have taken the stick out of the striker. This one was kept out by a combination of Gowan Jones and Jethro Eustice and the quick counter by South Africa almost found Dayaan Cassiem completely unmarked on the spot. 

South Africa once again were causing trouble on the counter attack and the shot was lifted straight back into the South Africans. The whistle immediately was blown for a penalty corner although the South Africans would probably have liked the advantage as Nic Spooner was on hand. The penalty corner from Connor Beauchamp was blistering but over the top. A superb and frenetic first quarter drew to a conclusion as fans around the globe were catching their breaths! 

Within the opening minute of the second quarter both teams had created circle entries highlighting how likely the game was to continue in the same pulsating mode as the opening 15 minutes. Bili Ntuli won South Africa another penalty corner with another strong direct run into the circle. Once again Matt Guise-Brown made it count with a low and hard strike to restore the two goal lead.

Another break from South Africa saw Bili Nutli have a shot on the reverse stick which was well saved by Hayward for New Zealand, who were struggling to cope with the speed of the South African counter attack. They were still looking dangerous going forward as Phillips created a shot which was well defended by Dayaan Cassiem. 

Tevin Kok was the next to take a quick free hit and a wonderful shot that was headed for the top right hand corner was saved sensationally by Hayward. Dayaan Cassiem created space and had a shot from a tight angle but the space was limited. Tim Drummond had a rare foray forward and turned it into the New Zealand foot and another penalty corner was awarded to the South Africans. Connor Beauchamp in a carbon copy of his first fired it just over the top of the goal. 

Bili Ntuli broke through superbly one-on-one and Hayward produced a save that fits safely into the World Class category to deny the South Africans. And at the half time break it was South Africa that had the two goal lead.

Another superb break from the South Africans saw Dayaan Cassiem test Hayward again, but the rebound struck a foot and another penalty corner was awarded. The shot was charged down and South Africa were unfortunate not to receive another penalty corner. 

Against the run of play New Zealand picked up a loose ball in the circle but Gowan Jones followed the Hayward approach and produced a wonderful save. South Africa immediately surged up the other end and Hayward produced another World Class save, but the South Africans were awarded a penalty corner. Dan Bell fired it low but Hayward made a good save. 

The pace of the game never slowed as both teams continued to seek out opportunities and a mistake form Le-Neal Jackson allowed New Zealand to pull goal back. It was an unforced error that frustrated the South Africans immensely.

South Africa scored a fourth superbly form a penalty corner through Guise-Brown but the video umpire ruled the ball had not left the circle. It was another dubious decision as both teams looked for the games next goal, which would have to wait until the final quarter. 

New Zealand had the first opportunity to land the next goal as they were awarded a penalty corner early in the quarter. They would equalise from the penalty corner which was converted by a diving deflection and it put New Zealand into the driving seat of the semi final. 

South Africa somehow missed as Ryan Julius slid onto a fine ball from Tevin Kok and it missed by inches. South Africa won another penalty corner through more superb work from Bili Ntuli with 7 minutes remaining. Connor Beauchamp scored through the legs of Hayward but once again they referred. This time the goal stood! 

New Zealand pulled Hayward off and Gowan Jones immediately had to make a good save as New Zealand put massive pressure on. 5 minutes remained. With 3:30 remaining New Zealand won a penalty corner with a paddle onto Guise-Brown’s leg. A mistrap from the Black Sticks gave South Africa a free get out of jail card and then South Africa should have scored but Cassiem fired narrowly wide. 

Gowan Jones made another important save with 2 minutes remaining on the clock. And South Africa absorbed a ton of pressure. 1 minute remained. And despite a video referral South Africa hung on to all bit confirm a place in the semi-finals (Unless Pakistan beat Australia by 3).

Australia started frenetically with two early goals against the South Africans but were made to work incredibly hard for the remainder of the game to seal a victory and confirm their spot in the Semi-Finals of the Commonwealth Games. 

The South African Hockey Men took on the world number 1 ranked Australia in Birmingham today as they looked to position themselves positively ahead of the battle with New Zealand tomorrow for a place in the semi-finals and the medal rounds. Realistically the South Africans were looking to trouble and contain the Australians in what would be a remarkably tough encounter. Captain Tim Drummond was missing for the game due to illness. 

The South Africans found an Australian foot in the opening minute and should have been awarded a penalty corner, but somehow the video umpire was unable to see the foot and somehow the referral was lost inexplicably. The frustration for the South Africans was compounded as Australia scored when Whetton was left wide open and converted easily to give the Australians the lead and their 200th goal in Commonwealth Games history. 

The damage was doubled shortly afterwards when Govers was given plenty space down the left and he fired in a cross / shot across goal for Australian captain Zalewski to tap home easily. Minutes later Australia were awarded the games opening penalty corner but Gowan Jones made a wonderful save to deny the Australians. 

A wonderful period of possession from South Africa earned an opportunity for the South Africans that Bili Ntuli turned and fired but it caught the keepers foot and fell just wide as the quarter ended with Australia leading 2-0. 

Australia should have been 3 goals to the good but Ephraim turned and fired against the foot of the post when he really should have done better. Australia were the dominant force but the South Africans and the post were working in unison to deny the Australians as Haywood struck the upright from a penalty corner. 

South Africa were still showing glimpses of danger led by Dayaan Cassiem, but were not testing the Australian goalkeeper in those opportunities, although Tevin Kok hit a beautiful strike from a tight angle that was well and easily saved. And as the half-time hooter sounded, it was the first time in the Commonwealth Games that the Australians had not scored in a quarter so far. 

South Africa started the second half as they finished the first by playing party spoilers on the Australian attack and holding possession for a nice period of time. South Africa created a goal scoring opportunity as Taine Paton ran into the circle, slightly mishit saw the save turn out to be a bit easier than Paton, the match winner against Scotland, would have liked. 

The South Africans were contesting with the Worlds top ranked team in the quarter far more gainfully than earlier in the game, but were thankful for Blake Govers wastefulness when presented with an opportunity 10 minutes into the quarter. With three minutes remaining in the quarter Australia received another green card and South Africa won a penalty corner with their one player advantage, their first of the game. Connor Beauchamp fired in the shot but it was charged down by the first wave runner. Despite another penalty corner being awarded Australia referred and were successful. 2-0 the score at the end of the third quarter. 

The largest compliment to the South African performance was that Gowan Jones had been far quieter than expected although when he was called to make a save from Wheeton he was focused and fired up to clear it to safety. 

Australia were awarded a penalty corner that South Africa wanted to refer for danger but they were punished for the strange decision in the opening minute as the penalty corner stood and Govers fired home. The hard work was in danger of being undone as another penalty corner was awarded. It was saved on the line by Jethro Eustice onto the cross bar superbly to deny Australia. South Africa would have the final chance but it was inches wide for Keenan Horne and that would be all as the game ended 3-0 to the Australians. 

For South Africa its a simple equation that awaits tomorrow against New Zealand. Win and South Africa will be in the Semi-Finals and contest for the medals. 

Two goals in the final four minutes saw South Africa snatch a dramatic victory from the jaws of defeat in Birmingham, to keep their Semi-Final and medal hopes alive!

Scotland had already played two games so far in the Birmingham tournament with a tremendous draw against New Zealand and a big defeat to Australia while South Africa were looking to build on their opening game draw against Pakistan. Both sides knew that anything other than victory would be detrimental in their quest for progress to the medal games. 

South Africa got the perfect start to the game with Dayaan Cassiem picking up the ball on the right hand side of the circle and powering home a scoop finish into the top left corner. It was exactly the type of start that Garreth Ewing and his men would have wanted. 

Scotland had a wonderful chance to score after superb work by Forsyth, but the diving finish was shot wide to the disappointment of the Scottish. Both teams had penalty corners successfully overturned to deny penalty corners as the opening quarter concluded with just the one goal between the two teams. 

Scotland were the first to ask a question in the second quarter with a shot at goal, but it was lacking the quality required to beat the South Africans. Scotland were upping the ante and were awarded a penalty corner. A great drag flick from Golden beat Gowan Jones but Tim Drummond cleared off the line superbly, a trademark save from the captain. 

South Africa brought a true moment of quality in the game to produce the second goal. Nic Spooner ran onto a decisive break and finished superbly. The African champions were delighted with the goal as they rightfully should be. 

The game had some ill tempers creeping in and Scotland and South Africa both received cards as the umpires stamped their authority on the game. South Africa created the next goal scoring opportunity with a strike from the side but it was saved and that was it for the first half. South Africa, who are known for the danger from the penalty corner, had delivered two brilliant field goals to hold the lead at the break.

Scotland won a penalty corner early in the second half after some dubious umpiring which also led to a green card for South Africa. The goal was converted by Scotland to breath life into the game. Scotland equalised seconds later as they found their captain in the circle, he got the touch in front of Nolutshungu and fired home into an empty net. 

Somehow Scotland found themselves in front when Siya Nolutshungu was unable to save a shot hit fairly innocently on target and the South Africans were rocked. South Africa had a penalty corner which was lifted into Mustapha Cassiem but on referral the call was upheld as not dangerous. 

Scotland had the next penalty corner and they struck the crossbar as the South Africans were hanging on. But they took advantage of that to run up the other end and took their first opportunity of the quarter. The Cassiem brothers combined before a well timed and executed deflection from Bili Ntuli levelled the scoring. 

The delight for the South Africans was very short lived as less than a minute later Struan Walker finished a rather easy opportunity that burst the South African bubble. Four goals conceded in a quarter was devastating for the South Africans.

South Africa restored parity through an absolute cracker from Matt Guise-Brown with just four minutes remaining. Both teams were desperate for the winner. Bili Ntuli had a shot at goal but the deflection fired wide and the game looked destined for a draw. But Taine Paton popped up with a brilliant shot over Tommy Alexander. It was a massive moment for the African champions and one of their most seasoned players stood up to be counted.

South Africa twice led but were pulled by by the Pakistani’s on both occasions as both teams settled for a draw in the opening game of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. 

South Africa and Pakistan took each other in their opening Commonwealth Games encounter in Birmingham this morning. Its been just over a year since South Africa stunned the world with a massive victory against Germany at the Tokyo Olympics and they were looking to bring that same resilience to a tournament that was originally scheduled to take place in South Africa.

The South Africans were awarded the first penalty corners of the game when they received two back to back, but the first runners from Pakistan were able to deny Matt Guise-Brown and it remained goalless. South Africa created the next best opportunity through Ryan Julius but the shot was well saved. Pakistan then had their goalkeeper yellow carded for intercepting outside the circle and the Africans had another penalty corner. This time Connor Beauchamp was the option and the execution was perfect to give the South Africans the lead! It was an entertaining opening quarter that came to its conclusion with the South Africans 1-0 up. 

Early in the second quarter South Africa’s pace attack was continuing to trouble the Asians as Bili Ntuli drove into the circle but a last ditch interception denied the Africans. Pakistan were weathering the storm effectively while the yellow card ran down, while still trying to create something themselves. 

South Africa had a fortunate opportunity when a penalty corner was brought down onto the foot but the shot was superbly saved by the stand in keeper. The yellow card for Pakistan expired and almost immediately were awarded their first penalty corner of the game and they levelled superbly through Rizwaan Ali. 

South Africa immediately created a circle entry but were lacking the cutting edge to maximise the opportunities, much to their frustration. South Africa created another quick counter attack that found Bili Ntuli in space and the vice captain fired it inches wide. And that was the end of the first half of action. South Africa the dominant team with more shots, circle entries and penalty corners but importantly only one goal a piece so far. 

Early in the second half South Africa earned their first penalty corner of the half through a poor tackle, but the first wave was quick enough to give a second award. The shot was saved on the line and the follow up shot was saved superbly to deny South Africa. 

Both teams were a little wasteful in possession and not making the most of their possession in the third quarter. The game was crying out for a moment of quality from either side. Pakistan won their second penalty corner of the match from a Mustapha Cassiem tackle but the South Africans kept it at bay and it remained even. Pakistan had the nearest opportunity with seconds left on the clock in the quarter but a hardly remarkable quarter finished without a goal.

The two sides both appeared like they were waiting for a big moment. South Africa thought they had the chance as Ntuli was sent through from Dayaan Cassiem but the ball was just to far away from the South Africans striker to make the chance count. 

Siya Nolutshungu was called on to make a big save as the Pakistanis sensed a great opportunity to steal the points and he answered the call superbly. South Africa then won a penalty corner after quick work from Taine Paton and Ntuli to set up another opportunity. An absolute rocket penalty corner from Guise-Brown struck the face mask of the defender on the line and a penalty stroke was awarded for the South Africans. Guise-Brown took the stroke and finished superbly to the a 2-1 lead with 6 minutes remaining on the clock. 

Pakistan were wrongly awarded a penalty stroke when Mustapha Cassiem made a superb goal line save and fortunately the review was in hand to overturn the decision. However Pakistan were still awarded the penalty corner. Siya Nolutshungu pulled off a superb save to deny Ali and South Africa held on to the narrow lead with 5 minutes remaining. 

Pakistan were dominating the territory and possession as they looked for an equaliser with South Africa defending with tremendous heart and spirit to try and wind down the clock. The counter attack danger for the South Africans was still present as Dayaan Cassiem created an opportunity but Pakistan kept it out. 2 minutes remained. 

Pakistan won a penalty corner with 40 seconds remaining on the clock when the ball struck Beauchamp on the foot. And with 20 seconds left they put the ball in the back of the net to pull level and devastate South Africa. \

In just under 30 days the South African Hockey Men will head to Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. South Africa join Australia, Canada, England and New Zealand as the ever-present sides competing in their 7th tournament.

The South Africans finished 4th in Manchester in 2002 and are desperate to progress to the medal games for just the second time this year. The SA Men captured the hearts of the hockey world in the most recent multi-sport event, the Tokyo Olympics, when they defeated Germany to cause the result of the tournament. They will be looking for more of the same.

Throughout their challenge at the FIH Pro League the SA Men were unable to select a consistent line up, but this time round all the big names are in the squad. Dayaan Cassiem who was runner-up for Goal of the year with his solo strike against Belgium in Tokyo, along with FIH Rising Star nominee Mustapha Cassiem are joined up front by club teammate and fellow Olympian Tevin Kok, making a welcome return to the fold.

The captaincy will be with the experienced Tim Drummond, who will play in his fourth Commonwealth Games, and is joined by fellow centurions Taine Paton and Jethro Eustice brining important experience to the fold. Several players will play in their second Commonwealth Games including vice captains Keenan Horne & Bili Ntuli, Gowan Jones, Siya Nolutshungu and Dan Bell amongst others.

The South Africans open their campaign against Pakistan before taking on Scotland. They finish the group with the Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand. The top two teams in the group will play in the medal matches.

 South Africa Squad for Commonwealth Games (Caps as of 30 June 2022)

Player

Caps

Player

Caps

Connor Beauchamp

13

Gowan Jones

64

Daniel Bell

77

Ryan Julius

50

Matt Guise-Brown

48

Tevin Kok

40

Dayaan Cassiem

52

Peabo Lembethe

52

Mustapha Cassiem

24

Samkelo Mvimbi

27

Tim Drummond

156

Siya Nolutshungu

42

Jethro Eustice

153

Bili Ntuli

79

Keenan Horne

88

Taine Paton

137

Le-Neal Jackson

26

Nicholas Spooner

45

 Reserves

Sihle Ngubane & Matt de Sousa

South Africa fixtures for Commonwealth Games

30 July 2022 – South Africa vs. Pakistan
1 August 2022 – South Africa vs. Scotland
3 August 2022 – South Africa vs. Australia
4 August 2022 – South Africa vs. New Zealand

In just under 30 days the South African Hockey Men will head to Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. South Africa join Australia, Canada, England and New Zealand as the ever-present sides competing in their 7th tournament.

The South Africans finished 4th in Manchester in 2002 and are desperate to progress to the medal games for just the second time this year. The SA Men captured the hearts of the hockey world in the most recent multi-sport event, the Tokyo Olympics, when they defeated Germany to cause the result of the tournament. They will be looking for more of the same.

Throughout their challenge at the FIH Pro League the SA Men were unable to select a consistent line up, but this time round all the big names are in the squad. Dayaan Cassiem who was runner-up for Goal of the year with his solo strike against Belgium in Tokyo, along with FIH Rising Star nominee Mustapha Cassiem are joined up front by club teammate and fellow Olympian Tevin Kok, making a welcome return to the fold.

The captaincy will be with the experienced Tim Drummond, who will play in his fourth Commonwealth Games, and is joined by fellow centurions Taine Paton and Jethro Eustice brining important experience to the fold. Several players will play in their second Commonwealth Games including vice captains Keenan Horne & Bili Ntuli, Gowan Jones, Siya Nolutshungu and Dan Bell amongst others.

The South Africans open their campaign against Pakistan before taking on Scotland. They finish the group with the Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand. The top two teams in the group will play in the medal matches.

 South Africa Squad for Commonwealth Games (Caps as of 30 June 2022)

Player

Caps

Player

Caps

Connor Beauchamp

13

Gowan Jones

64

Daniel Bell

77

Ryan Julius

50

Matt Guise-Brown

48

Tevin Kok

40

Dayaan Cassiem

52

Peabo Lembethe

52

Mustapha Cassiem

24

Samkelo Mvimbi

27

Tim Drummond

156

Siya Nolutshungu

42

Jethro Eustice

153

Bili Ntuli

79

Keenan Horne

88

Taine Paton

137

Le-Neal Jackson

26

Nicholas Spooner

45

 Reserves

Sihle Ngubane & Matt de Sousa

South Africa fixtures for Commonwealth Games

30 July 2022 – South Africa vs. Pakistan
1 August 2022 – South Africa vs. Scotland
3 August 2022 – South Africa vs. Australia
4 August 2022 – South Africa vs. New Zealan

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has appointed South Africa as the host country for the inaugural FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup. The event will take place at the North-West University of Potchefstroom – which successfully hosted the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup in April this year - from 28 November to 4 December 2022.

The aim of this new yearly event is to offer a top-level competition to the best-ranked teams not participating in the FIH Hockey Pro League and give the winning team the option to be promoted to the FIH Hockey Pro League the next season, precisely. Therefore, the FIH Hockey Nations Cup marks the start of the promotion-relegation principle for the FIH Hockey Pro League, with the winning team of the first FIH Hockey Nations Cup having the chance to be promoted to the 2023-24 FIH Hockey Pro League (provided they meet the necessary requirements for it).

The following eight teams - which include some of the powerhouses of world hockey! - will participate in the very first edition, having qualified based on their position in the FIH World Rankings of May 2021: South Africa, France, Canada, Japan, Korea, Ireland, Pakistan and Malaysia.

FIH CEO Thierry Weil said: “On behalf of FIH, I’d like to thank wholeheartedly the South African Hockey Association for hosting this inaugural edition of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup. Everyone could see how successful the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup – the first FIH World Cup to be staged on African soil – was, and we’re delighted to go back to Potchefstroom soon! With the Nations Cup, not only a true hockey festival awaits all hockey fans, but there’s a lot a stake for the teams, including a place within the FIH Hockey Pro League!”

Shaune Baaitjies, Acting CEO of SA Hockey: "South Africa showed our capacity as a world class host with the hosting of the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom earlier this year. The North West University facilities were outstanding and received wonderful reviews from all involved. We are delighted that the FIH has chosen to host the FIH Hockey Nations Cup in Potchefstroom. The South African Men enjoyed playing the home series of games in the FIH Hockey Pro League at the venue and look forward to adding more remarkable memories for the international hockey family. It promises to be a wonderful tournament at a wonderful venue!"

 The inaugural FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup will be held in Valencia, Spain, from 11 to 17 December this year.

South Africa concluded their FIH Pro League tournament against Olympic Champions Belgium. The SA Men knew they would have a massive challenge ahead of them as the Belgians had won the previous four encounters with a combined 28-6 score line including the 5-0 victory yesterday.

The game started off sensationally with South Africa winning an early penalty corner following some good work by the returning Dayaan Cassiem. The penalty corner itself was nothing short of perfection as Connor Beauchamp  rifled the ball into the roof of the net. It was a rocket of a penalty corner and gave the African Champions a massive lift.

Belgium would level but it would take a remarkable team goal of quick incisive play to create the goal finished off coolly by Nelson Onana. South Africa though continued to trouble the Belgians and were a good value opposition with Mustapha Cassiem enjoying making a nuisance of himself.

The second quarter continued to follow the pattern of the first with both sides having opportunities and the South Africans looking very dangerous on the counter as the likes of Bili Ntuli, Dayaan Cassiem and Keenan Horne combined fluidly throughout. But the half reached its conclusion with a probably fair score line of 1-1.

Early in the third quarter South Africa had a big chance through skipper Keenan Horne. The Striker was afforded space, but his tomahawk shot flew narrowly over the bar. The Belgians would take that lifeline and in 5 intense minutes push the pressure home.

Florent van Aubel took advantage of a lapse in concentration in the South African defence to leap onto the ball and finish into the back of the net. Tom Boon then followed suite by robbing the ball from Tyson Dlungwana and finishing with incredible pace and added his second from a penalty corner. 4-1 at the end of the third quarter.

South Africa continued to trouble the Belgians and ask questions which led to a reward for the team. Another penalty corner was awarded and the South Africans once again turned to Connor Beauchamp who took the opportunity like a season professional. It was a consolation, but it was a massively deserving one for a superb performance.

For the South Africans all eyes now turn to the Commonwealth Games in 50 days where they will be looking to emulate or improve on their performances from previous tournaments, while applying the lessons taught throughout an incredible FIH Pro League experience.