Dayaan Cassiem topped off his best game for South Africa in a very short career by scoring a goal in SA’s 4-2 win over Japan in the FIH World Hockey League Semi-Finals.
With this victory the SA men’s hockey team finished 9th in the tournament.
At halftime South Africa was leading 2-1 after two penalty corner scores from Austin Smith. It brought his tally to four goals in the tournament and 56 in his career. Koji Yamasaki scored Japan’s goal at the end of the first chukka.
With 11 minutes left Japan’s Genki Mitani scored to equalise matters. Japan upped the pace big time later in the third chukka going into the final 15 minutes.
With another shot at goal a Japanese defender denied the 18-year-old Cassiem, but SA got the penalty shot for the body-block. Jonathan Robinson hit the back of the goal-box to give SA the lead (3-2) once again.
Cassiem finally got reward for a game well played when he scored SA’s fourth goal. “It was great to score. I really enjoyed playing with the team. This tournament was a great learning experience for me,” said Cassiem.
Captain Tim Drummond added: “It was a tough tournament for us and we learnt some hard lessons, but the boys showed character today. We did not reach our initial goal, but we did some reassessment and we really wanted to win.”
The SA women’s team takes the field Saturday at 13:30 to play Japan for the 5th place in the tournament. The women have qualified for the 2018 FIH World Cup in London.
The African Championships is later in the year and if the SA Women win that tournament South Africa will be in the Top 10 of the world rankings. Currently South Africa is 13th.
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.
All matches are broadcasted live on SuperSport.
Be sure to follow the teams on Twitter at @SA_Hockey_Men and @sawomenshockey