Johannesburg - South Africa's men's hockey coach Charlie Pereira says the World League Semi-Final tournament in Johor Bahru, Malaysia afforded his side "hard, painful lessons".
The SA side lost 6-2 to Pakistan in their final outing of the tournament to finish in eighth position.
“In these games one has to take the opportunities, as it changes the dynamics of the game," said Pereira on Sunday.
“Hard lessons, is what I can call this trip - and they are painful.” Pereira said SA captain Austin Smith and midfielder Jonty Robinson who contracted Dengue Fever, a mosquito-borne illness - were transferred from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, on Sunday as the rest of the squad prepared to return to South Africa. “The South African doctor is looking after the lads until they are fit enough to fly,” said Pereira.
“It’s not an ideal situation. We had hoped that they would be coming home with us. “Austin and Jonty have been badly missed. Both are quality players and vital for their set-play skills.
"Two short on the bench for the third game in a row, it took its toll as we wilted in the Johor heat. "