Cape Town - It was a
pulsating match between the 15th-ranked South Africa and Canada ranked
four places higher in the second Group C match-up.
With the both sides having
lost their openers the match had added importance that the losers would face an
early elimination from the FIH Hockey World Cup. The South African men also
knew that previous coach Gregg Clark was in the Canadian camp, adding an extra
bit of spice to the match.
Africans started the match like the only team that wanted to win, Canada knew
due to goal difference a draw would suit them slightly better and created
numerous chances in the first half. The best opportunity of the half came
through a superb piece of work by Nic Spooner down the left-hand side before
setting up Bili Ntuli who was unable to direct his effort into the goal.
were also awarded three penalty corners in the half with one superbly saved by
David Carter. South Africa will be bitterly disappointed that they were unable
to make their penalty corner dominance count throughout the match, but that one
was nothing short of a world-class save.
mostly a spectator for the first half, Rassie Pieterse was called into action
on the verge of half-time and produced a superb save to deny Scott Tupper. It
was a reminder to the African Champions that all the pressure counted for
nothing if they couldn’t put a goal on the scoresheet.
however did come for the South Africans in the second half and it was superb
and emotional. Bili Ntuli, whose brother Sihle Ntuli is one of the Assistant
Coaches, received the ball under immense pressure, created space for himself
and shot a beautiful tomahawk into the corner. The Ntuli brother’s younger
sister passed away in February and it was clearly an emotional moment for the
younger brother who wanted to score at the World Cup in honour of his late
The lead would
not last long enough and Canada levelled when their second penalty corner beat
Gowan Jones and hit Rhett Halketts foot on the line. The Penalty stroke,
rightfully awarded, was dispatched by Scott Tupper.
would create numerous goal-scoring opportunities late on including four penalty
corners but were unable to finish one of them. It was clear at the final
whistle that the Canadians were the happier of the two sides knowing they had
escaped with a point and that South Africa would have it all to do in the final
group game where goal difference is not in our favour.
Results: FIH Hockey World Cup 2018 - Group C
India 2-2 Belgium
Standings: Group C after 2 rounds (goal difference in brackets)
4 pts (+5)
4 pts (+1)
1 pt. (-1)
4. South Africa 1 pt. (-5)
Fixtures: Group C – December 8
Africa v Belgium
15:30 India v Canada