Olympics 2012

SA hockey men to blame: Clark

2012-08-08 10:12
Gregg Clark (Gallo)

London - The South African men's hockey team's inability to hold on to a lead has been a recurring feature at the London Olympics, the side's coach Gregg Clark said after their 6-3 loss to Argentina on Tuesday.

The team suffered their fourth loss of their Olympic campaign.

"I don't know what to say, I suppose we've done it to ourselves again," a gutted Clark said.

"We got our noses in front, we played some incredible hockey but haven't come away with a result, it's pretty much been the order of our pool.

"It happened against Great Britain, it happened against Pakistan and it happened today [Tuesday]."

Clark said the team's inability to finish has been a major problem for the team throughout the Games.

"We just haven't had the intelligence and the focus to take the points that were on offer when we got ourselves ahead in the game," he said.

South Africa finished last in pool A and will now be involved in the classification play-offs for the wooden spoon against India.

Clark said it would be a major challenge to motivate the players for their final match.

"It's a very difficult part of the tournament for the players, we've been here before, we were in the same situation in Beijing," Clark said.

"We've played much better hockey this time around.

"We find ourselves in the same position and it is an incredibly difficult period to remain focussed, to get the players motivated for this last match."

The former SA player added that the team would nevertheless give it their best as they had pride to play for.

"It is something we'll have to do, we are still representing our country at an Olympic Games, so we're going to have to find the energy and the focus," he said.

Captain Austin Smith said he had been frustrated by the manner in which they let their lead slip.

"Today the last 15 minutes of the first half was very poor after starting off so well and then letting it slip," Smith said.

"The fact that we showed glimpses of really good stuff makes it more frustrating because we have the ability."

Smith said the most disappointing part of the series was the fact that they have shown improvement since Beijing with little to show for it.

"We were outplayed in Beijing, we were a long way off the mark but here I think we were a lot closer," he said.

"So that makes it so much more frustrating playing for 11th and 12th."

The loss means the side have not managed a win since the 2008 Beijing Games, a statistic Smith would like to change in their last match.

"I didn't win a game in Beijing so that is something I am working towards," said Smith.

"We are still here representing South Africa and there is a lot of pride, so we'll definitely want to avoid the wooden spoon."

Read more on:    olympics 2012  |  gregg clark  |  hockey

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