The South African men’s hockey team lost a very frustrating match against its African archenemy, Egypt 2-1.
It was a day of missed opportunities for the home team in the FIH World Hockey League Semi-Finals. South Africa had 13 shots at goal and Egypt only two.
After going scoreless for almost 28 minutes the score was 1-1 at halftime. Egypt scored first with Houssam Ghobran getting the scoreboard going. Less than 30 second later South Africa equalised with Dan Sibbald hitting the back of the goal-box after a brilliant pass from Daniel Bell. It could have been 2-1 for the home team, but Ignatius Malgraff missed a great opportunity earlier in the second chukka.
The third chukka presented South Africa with some brilliant chances to score especially the one from Julian Hykes with an open goal-box, but it was Egypt who took the lead with Ghobran second goal of the match. With 15 minutes left Egypt was leading 2-1.
It was a match in which the South Africans just did not get the basics right. The trapping skills and injections for penalty corners lacked accuracy on the day. The home team had more than enough opportunities to score field goals and from penalty corners – South Africa got eight penalty corners.
South Africa is 15th on the world rankings and Egypt 19th.
Tomorrow the SA women’s team come up against the USA at 16:00. The South Africans need to win this match if they want to stand any chance of advancing to the quarterfinals.
The SA men’s team is up against Belgium on Monday at 18:00. Belgium played in the final of the 2016 Rio Olympics. The only way the team can reach the next round is by beating Belgium who is in rampant form.
All matches in the Hockey World League Semi-Final are played at the Wits Hockey Astro in Johannesburg. Twenty of the world’s best men and women’s national teams will take part in these Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers from 8 - 23 July.
Tickets for the event can be purchased online at http://hockeyworldleague.nutickets.co.za/HWL
All matches are broadcasted live on SuperSport. Be sure to follow the teams on Twitter at @SA_Hockey_Men and @sawomenshockey