24 hours after the opening test match between South Africa and Namibia, the two teams locked horns again at Randburg Astro. Namibia were unchanged, with Brynn Cleak still unavailable due to hospitalization, while South Africa had the services of the exciting Dayaan Cassiem back.
With the excitement of international hockey back on South African, a decent crowd were at Randburg Astro for the action, while a couple hundred more were streaming on the Shoott South Africa Facebook page.
South Africa, in the reverse white kit, were looking to build on their display from the opening game and particularly work on their penalty corner conversion, while Namibia would have liked to be more competitive in the attacking third while maintaining their resolute defence.
Namibia were fantastic in denying the South Africans opportunities in the early stages of the game while having a bit more possession than in the opening test. The hosts were left to half chances that their neighbours were denying either through some courageous defending or superb goalkeeping. At the same time Liam Hermanus and Dakota Hansen were proving to be massive thorns in the South African sides.
South Africa eventually snuck in the opening goal of the game when Jethro Eustice fired in a low penalty corner. South Africa held a 1-0 lead at the half-time break, a score that fairly represented the first half of the game.
Alex Stewart, playing in his fourth game for his country, scored South Africa’s second from a good penalty corner variation. The youngster was delighted as it was his first goal for his country. With seconds left in the third chukka Keenan Horne converted another penalty corner variation that really enthused the crowd.
Dayaan Cassiem had been growing into the game and his presence was felt in the final quarter as he first scored a goal before assisting Matt de Sousa with the final goal of the game. Like Stewart earlier in the game it was de Sousa’s first for his country and the team were delighted.
Once again there were massive positives for Garreth Ewing and his team as they continue to build on combinations towards the FIH Hockey Series Final. The penalty corner looked more dangerous, the younger players are taking their opportunities to put themselves in the picture going forward. Namibia have also offered a valuable opposition, hopefully leading to more test matches between the neighbours.
The final game of the series takes place on Thursday at 19:00.