South Africa and Egypt faced off in the African Cup of Nations for the 6th consecutive time in Accra tonight. Both teams were desperate to secure qualification to the FIH Hockey World Cup, while for the South Africans a victory also offered a confirmed top 10 spot in the World Rankings ahead of the FIH Pro League.

South Africa earned the first shot of the final when Brad Sherwood and Bili Ntuli combined but it was a routine save for Farahat Shehata. Despite some good possession from the Egyptians, it was the South Africans who looked more likely to score and they did exactly that towards the end of the opening quarter. Matt Guise-Brown was given two Penalty corners and the finish on the second left no doubt as it smashed into the side net. It would be the last significant action of the opening quarter as South Africa led 1-0 at the first interval.

South Africa won the first penalty corner of the second quarter two minutes in, when a foot was found in the circle. Shehata made a good save, but the lifted ball created danger and South Africa were awarded a second bite at the cherry. A second bite would become a third bite as a foot was hit in the charge down. But Egypt would survive, and the opportunity was missed.

The South Africans were made to rue those misses as Egypt pulled level with a moment of magic from Ziad Adel who made the perfect run in between Le-Neal Jackson and Gowan Jones and finished it off superbly. With Egypt on the front foot, they won a penalty corner shortly after the equaliser. Tim Drummond on the post showed why he is so highly regarded in that position and denied the Egyptians superbly. The half time break saw the team’s level, 30 minutes remaining to decide the tournament.

South Africa came out blazing and almost caught the Egyptians napping immediately after the break, but good rear-guard scrambling kept the South Africans at bay. Bili Ntuli went on a superb run into the D but his cut back was unable to pick up a team mate, while Egypt failed to collect with a search cross into the circle. The tension could be cut with a spoon!

That tension defined the third quarter somewhat as the two sides played somewhat within themselves for large portions, waiting for the perfect gap while making sure they didn’t let their opposition in. South Africa got the first big opportunity with a penalty corner, but the variation was sent wide as both sides continued to search for the go-ahead goal. Ill discipline from the Egyptians then awarded the South Africans another penalty corner but a bobbled ball meant the chance went astray. There would be no goal in the quarter, and it would be down to a final 15 minutes to decide the champions.

South Africa won their 8th penalty corner at the start of the fourth quarter and a brilliant variation left the Egyptians surprised, but the shot fired narrowly wide, and the Egyptian blushes were spared. Bili Ntuli then produced a moment of magic to create an opportunity but Shehata made a very important save to keep the scores level.

Both sides were upping the tempo looking for a massive goal to go ahead. Both sides had several circle entries but both sides saw their opportunities denied again and again. As the clock headed down to zero, it was down to a penalty shootout to decide the title for the first time since 2005.

In the shootout it was Gowan Jones who starred, saving three of the four penalties to leave young Brad Sherwood with the opportunity to win it for his country, a moment that the Maritzburg College old boy would not turn down. Winner of the match, Champions of the continent and qualified for the FIH Hockey World Cup.

African Hockey Cup of Nations 2022 – Final Standings

  1. South Africa
  2. Egypt
  3. Nigeria
  4. Kenya
  5. Ghana
  6. Uganda
  7. Namibia

South Africa and Nigeria met in the 2022 African Hockey Cup of Nations at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium, which last hosted the tournament in 2009. The two sides last faced off in a test match in 2017 when the South Africans emerged victorious by 8-1. South African High Commissioner to Ghana Her Excellency Grace Jeanet Mason was again in attendance at the venue supporting the Southern African side.

First Penalty corner of the game went the way of Nigeria, but they were unable to control the injection. South Africa almost created their own opportunity, but a slight deflection mean Taine Paton could not get on the end of the cross. With both cards receiving some early green cards, it was South Africa who got the next opportunity with a penalty corner but were unable to trap it as it was charged down well.

Nigeria was showing tremendous tenacity in defence and looking for the opportunity to counterattack with John Victor a particular threat in that regard. But despite both teams’ best efforts the opening quarter finished with parity still in place.

The first telling moment of the second quarter came 2 minutes in when South Africa were awarded a penalty corner. The first was charged down and the second was defended but it was third time lucky for South Africa as Matt Guise-Brown broke the resilience of the Nigerian resolve with a powerful flick.

South Africa took the opportunity to rub salt into the brand newly opened wound as the Spooner / Ntuli combination paid dividends again. Nic Spooner received the ball in the D and through a crowd picked out co-vice-captain and club teammate Bili Ntuli who finished with his typical cool as ice approach.

South Africa were putting on an exhibition and Ntuli turned provided as a pin-point cross picked out Richard Pautz whose finish left n doubt. South Africa compounded their dominance when Guise-Brown finished a bullet of a pc to make it 4-0 before the break. Nic Spooner was dictating play and his through ball found Ignatius Malgraff who made it 5-0 before the break.

The second half played out much like you would expect as the South Africans slowed and dictated the pace of the game in the intense Ghanaian heat. The match was however becoming fairly physical with the treat of cards looming, but both teams kept their cool and South Africa added to the scoring once again at penalty corner time with another triple award being converted by Dan Bell for his first of the tournament.

It was a mature performance by the South Africans in the second half as they hardly gave the Nigerians a sniff at goal, and when they did the defensive backline, no matter which combination was on, was wonderful in breaking down any build ups. They also had the opportunity to go and add to the score line with the power of Guise-Brown netting his hat-trick from the penalty corner.

Garreth Ewing head coach:

“I think we started a little bit slowly, but we were superb in the second quarter. Our performance was good, and we ticked things off. The final will be tough, this is Africa and whether its Kenya or Egypt it will be a wonderful spectacle for the fans!”

The men will now compete in the final tomorrow evening at 20:00 (South African Time) against the winner of Egypt and Kenya, being contested this evening. The winner of the final will qualify for the FIH Hockey World Cup in 12 months’ time in India.

With both South Africa and Kenya having already qualified from Pool A for the Semi-Finals following respective victories against Namibia. The two sides have played some classic matches over the years, none more than the 2-1 victory for South Africa at the 2015 Greenfields African Championships. Both teams were keen to secure top spot and the favourable draw in the Semi-Finals. For South Africa the match marked goalkeepers 50th cap for the country.

Kenya started the game a little bit faster than the South Africans and won an early penalty corner. What would become a theme of the game on an inconsistent turf was the opportunity was lost. But it hardly mattered, and Kenya created another chance from the resultant play which Festus Onyango should have done better with.

South Africa then created arguably the finest opportunity of the opening interchanges when a ball fell to Keenan Horne. The opportunity looked like a replica of his opportunity against Germany at the Tokyo Olympics, but it was well saved by Shidogo in the Kenyan goal.

A brilliant defensive block denied Brad Sherwood his third international goal after a scintillating run by the South African co vice-captain Bili Ntuli. South Africa and Kenya were awarded a number of penalty corners, but the titanic chess match played out as a goalless first half, much like a match between two teams already qualified for the semi-finals.

The second half saw South Africa take the lead, which was probably deserved on the balance of play. Keenan Horne called for a quick ball from the sideline that caught the Kenyan defenders napping and a selfless ball to Bili Ntuli left the striker a simple job of tapping in.

Ntuli and Spooner, a combination that works well for Harvestehuder in Germany, worked again for the South Africans as Spooner fired in a pinpoint cross and Ntuli was on hand to steer it home to give the South Africans a 2-0 lead.

With the number of penalty corners being given away, it felt like one would eventually go in for one of the teams. And to the disappointment of the South Africans, it was the Kenyans who scored it. Captain Constance Wankgura fired it past Siya Nolutshungu to set up a grandstand finish.

But rather than ending in a storm the game petered out with errors more telling than moments of brilliance. As a result, South Africa will now watch the action tomorrow to find out who they take on in the Semi-Finals on Saturday, while a date with Egypt is looming for the Kenyan Men.

Tim Drummond, captain of South Africa.

“Its always a physical game against Kenya. They are fit and a good team. We pride ourselves on our defence we will look at the video afterwards and see the areas that we need to improve. We always want to score goals and we will see different things we can do in the Semi-Final on Saturday.’

AFCON 2022 – Day 3 Results Men

Pool A

South Africa 2-1 Kenya

The South African Hockey Men looked to continue their domination over their Namibian counterparts as they began their quest to defend the African Cup of Nations title once again. Namibia, missing all players selected for the now cancelled FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup were always going to be up against it facing the African Champions, missing several players themselves.

There were several debutants on display for both sides with Sihle Ngubane and Brad Sherwood earning their first test caps for the country. Long-serving Lonwabo Owen Mvimbi earned his 50th test cap, to the delight of hockey fans at home.  

It didn’t take the defending champions long to break the deadlock with Ignatius Malgraff, all-time top PHL goal scorer, squeezing a shot out that beat the slow reaction of the Namibian keeper Roben Kambinda. South Africa seemingly camped out in the Namibian half and were rewarded with a second in the opening quarter. A penalty corner was superbly saved, but the rebound was not cleared and found its way to Tim Drummond in the middle who made no mistake.

South Africa would add another two goals in the second quarter when they fired in two strikes in the space of 60 seconds. First Brad Sherwood did a fantastic job in getting to the baseline and crossing where Richard Pautz finished with the calmness of a surgeon. It was Nic Spooner who made it four as another goal mouth melee found its way to the Harvestehuder star to fire home. 4-0 to the South African Men at the half-time break.

Having largely settled the game in the first half, the South Africans maintained a similar tempo as the game wore on and added another two goals in the third quarter. Matt Guise-Brown showed Namibia what he had already demonstrated in Tokyo with a superb penalty corner, before striking the crossbar with a second. Taine Paton made it six, as he converted a well worked manoeuvre in the D.

Matt Guise-Brown continued his demolition mission in the final quarter as he fired home his second and the countries 7th before adding his hat-trick goal two minutes later. With 10 minutes remaining the South Africans had already bettered any other teams goal return on day of the tournament.

The onslaught continued for the Namibians as Richard Pautz and Nic Spooner both completed their braces in taking the score to double figures. There was still time for first ever international goals for both Le-Neal Jackson and then Brad Sherwood, netting two on debut.

It was a resounding result or the South Africans smashing in 13-0 to put out the loudest statement of any team on day 1.

SA captain Tim Drummond shared his thoughts after the game

“I am really happy with the result but more importantly how we played the game. We want to get better each game that we play. We will enjoy this performance and recover for the next game so that we can put a superb effort against Kenya!”

AFCON 2022 – Day 1 Results Men

Pool A
South Africa 13-0 Namibia

Pool B
Ghana 1-1 Uganda
Egypt 4-2 Nigeria

The South African Hockey Men had a glowing 2021 which captured the hearts of the global hockey family. The reward for the performances was inclusion in the 2021 FIH Favourites top 10 lists. We are pleased to share that South Africa have been announced in the top 3 of both! 

The third best goal of 2021, as chosen by the fans, goes to South Africa’s Dayaan Cassiem for his sensational strike against eventual Olympic gold medallists Belgium when the two sides met in the pool phase of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 

Cassiem, unquestionably one of the stars of the tournament at the showpiece event in Japan, netted a sensational solo effort against the Red Lions, running half the length of the field in possession before producing an outrageous flicked effort past the shoulder of brilliant Belgian goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch and into the net. 

To score a goal of such rare quality against the reigning world champions and soon to be Olympic gold medallists was a moment to treasure for the immensely gifted attacker who, alongside younger brother Mustaphaa, represents a bright, exciting future for South African hockey. 

The second best match of 2021, according to the fans, is South Africa men’s remarkable 4-3 victory over Germany in the Tokyo 2020 pool phase. 

With an inferior ranking and up against a team many rated as potential winners, South Africa came into the match considered very much as underdogs but produced an incredible display to down the Rio 2016 bronze medallists, just days after the Europeans had handed out a 5-1 thrashing of Great Britain in their previous fixture. 

Germany opened the scoring through Timm Herzbruch, but strikes from Matthew Guise-Brown and Keenan Horne put South Africa into a 2-1 lead. Die Honamas hit back with two goals of their own, as Lukas Windfeder and Constantin Staib established a 3-2 advantage ahead of half time. 

However, field goals from Nicholas Spooner and rising star Mustaphaa Cassiem turned the match on its head, with South Africa producing a sensational defensive display in the latter stages to claim a extraordinary triumph over the eventual semi-finalists. 

SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni praised the SA Hockey Men for the recognition they have received:

"We are immensely proud of the SA Hockey Men and what they achieved in 2021. To be recognised by the fans is testament to the thrilling display that they produced in Tokyo. Congratulations to Dayaan on being recognised for a scintillating solo goal against the Olympic Champions Belgium and to the men for their historic, wonderful victory against Germany! Thank you to all the supporters who voted, we look forward to more fond memories being created in Ghana next week!"

The African Hockey Cup of Nations takes place in Accra in Ghana from the 17-23 January 2022. The team that finishes top of the tournament will qualify for the FIH Hockey World Cup in India in January 2023.

For the South African Men it’s an opportunity to build on the momentum established at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where a victory over Germany put the SA Men into the top 10 in the world for the first time ever. They currently sit in 12th, but the continental showpiece will give them an opportunity to get back into the top 10.

With the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup and the African Cup of Nations taking in close proximity, the challenge that has arisen as a result of the various travel restrictions has led to an updated South African Mens team to take the African Cup of Champions.

Sihle Ngubane and Connor Beauchamp will have the opportunity to earn their first caps for the national team, while Richard Pautz and Ignatius Malgraff are recalled to the squad too.

The South Africans are the 7 times champions of the African Cup of Nations tournament, and while they will be looking to make it 8, there will be a tough challenge from Egypt and hosts Ghana to deal with.

The squad including reserves will start a camp today at North West University before departing for Ghana.

SA Men’s Hockey Squad – African Cup of Nations

Player

Province

Caps

Siya Nolutshungu

KZN Raiders

28

Tim Drummond

KZN Raiders

150

Le-Neal Jackson

Northern Blues

8

Daniel Bell

Southern Gauteng

59

Connor Beauchamp

Western Province

0

Matthew Guise-Brown

Northern Blues

40

Taine Paton

KZN Raiders

120

Peabo Lembethe

Northern Blues

38

Owen Mvimbi

Southern Gauteng

49

Nicholas Spooner

Southern Gauteng

31

Sihle Ngubane

KZN Raiders

0

Richard Pautz

Southern Gauteng

31

Keenan Horne

Western Province

69

Tevin Kok

KZN Raiders

40

Bili Ntuli

Northern Blues

63

Ignatius Malgraff

Eastern Province

67

Tyson Dlungwana

Northern Blues

50

Gowan Jones

KZN Raiders

48

 

Today the FIH released their latest fan activations. The FIH have selected the 10 best goals and the 10 best matches of 2021 and fans will vote to select their favourite. SA Hockey are represented with a finalist in each list. 

Favourite Goal -  Dayaan Cassiem (RSA). South Africa Men v Belgium (Pool phase) – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Incredible solo effort against the World and eventual Olympic champions, running half the length of the field in possession before flicking past the shoulder of goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.

Favourite Match -  Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Men’s Pool B – South Africa 4-3 Germany 

To register the votes, fans simply need to click on this linkhttps://fih.formstack.com/forms/favourite_moments_2021

The voting will close on 9 January 2022 at 23:59 (UTC).

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of each category will be announced in the following days.

Meeting today virtually for the last time of the year, the Executive Board (EB) of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) approved the participation of South Africa and Canada in the third edition of the Men’s FIH Hockey Pro League. As informed earlier, this participation is temporary and limited to this edition only. Both teams replace Australia and New Zealand, who had to pull out of the current season due to COVID-related international travel constraints.

“It’s great that both South Africa and Canada are joining the FIH Hockey Pro League. Both teams are the first ones from Africa and North America to join the Men’s League, which is excellent for the growth and globalization of hockey”, FIH CEO Thierry Weil commented.

The first Pro League matches of the year in 2022 will involve the Women’s teams of China and India. They will take place on 31 January – 1 February in Thailand, where both teams will be to play the Women’s Asia Cup 2022. The current match schedule of this Pro League season is available here.

Furthermore, the EB members extended congratulations and thanks to Hockey India for their outstanding work in hosting a magnificent FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021.

Regarding the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021, which was initially scheduled for this month but had to be put “on hold” because of the Omicron variant outbreak, the EB has decided that this event should be postponed and that South Africa should have priority for hosting it. The EB also expressed thanks to the organisers – both the South African Hockey Association and the North-West University of Potchefstroom – for their intense preparations.

For more information about FIH and hockey in general, please download the Watch.Hockey app or follow the FIH social media channels - FacebookInstagram and Twitter – and website.

 

Belgium and South Africa came up against each other for the first time in history in the junior ranks as the 2021 Junior World Cup got underway in Odisha. The Belgians were the runners up in 2016 and with the senior side being the Olympic champions there is massive optimism around the Red Lions at this tournament.

A tough opening 10 minutes saw the Belgians settle quicker and take advantage of their early dominance with a cool finish by Roman Duvekot to take the lead from a penalty corner. Despite their dominance in the opening exchanges, the Belgians were met with stern South African resilience to deny them. Taine Bird making a number of interventions to deny the Europeans. As the game headed towards the final minutes of the opening quarter, the South Africans struck back though. South Africa won back-to-back penalty corners, before Jacques van Tonder fired a bullet past Feldheim to pull level.

Despite a far more competitive second quarter the South Africans found themselves 2-1 down after a wonderful solo run from Nelson Onana was finished superbly through Taine Bird’s legs. South Africa were not displeased with a 2-1 half time score line and looked to come out firing in the second half.

They did that with a penalty corner within 60 seconds as another penalty corner was won, but the opportunity was missed as Guy Morgan fired wide. The miss would be costly as Duvekot notched up his second of the game on the verge of the whistle ending the third quarter. A wonderful reverse strike finish gave the South Africans no chance and made it 3-1.

The Belgians would ramp home their advantage in the final quarter to add some gloss to the score as Arno van Dessel and Rik van Cleynenbreugel both netted. It was an early statement of intent from the Red Lions and one that most teams around the tournament would take notice of.

The South Africans are next in action when they take on Chile at 06:00 on Friday 26 November. The match will be live on the FIH Watch Hockey app, available for free download on both major app stores.

The African Hockey Cup of Nations takes place in Accra in Ghana from the 17-23 January 2022. The team that finishes top of the tournament will qualify for the FIH Hockey World Cup in India in January 2023.

For the South African Men it’s an opportunity to build on the momentum established at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where a victory over Germany put the SA Men into the top 10 in the world for the first time ever. They currently sit in 12th, but the continental showpiece will give them an opportunity to get back into the top 10.

The South African men are now without the service of long-time stalwarts Rassie Pieterse and Austin Smith who both retired after Tokyo, but the bulk of that team remains, including FIH Rising Star nominee Mustapha Cassiem. Connor Beauchamp, who is playing club hockey for Reading in England earns his opportunity for his first cap, while Gowan Jones and Siya Nolutshungu will battle it out for the keeper role.

The South Africans are the 7 times champions of the African Cup of Nations tournament, and while they will be looking to make it 8, there will be a tough challenge from Egypt and hosts Ghana to deal with.

Head Coach Garreth Ewing is excited for the challenge.

“It’s a really exciting group with another tough selection process. As always there are players unlucky to miss out, but that’s a great problem to have. We cant wait to get  to Accra and take on the best of Africa”

An extended squad including reserves will gather for a camp in Potchefstroom at North West University before departing for Ghana in January.

SA Mens Hockey Squad – African Cup of Nations

Player

Province

Caps

Siya Nolutshungu

KZN Raiders

28

Tim Drummond

KZN Raiders

150

Jethro Eustice

KZN Raiders

133

Daniel Bell

Southern Gauteng

59

Connor Beauchamp

Western Province

0

Matthew Guise-Brown

Northern Blues

40

Taine Paton

KZN Raiders

120

Peabo Lembethe

Northern Blues

38

Owen Mvimbi

Southern Gauteng

49

Nicholas Spooner

Southern Gauteng

31

Ryan Julius

Western Province

45

Dayaan Cassiem

Western Province

43

Keenan Horne

Western Province

69

Tevin Kok

KZN Raiders

40

Bili Ntuli

Northern Blues

63

Mustapha Cassiem

Western Province

13

Tyson Dlungwana

Northern Blues

50

Gowan Jones

KZN Raiders

48