SA men upbeat after narrow loss

2013-12-14 00:00

BUOYED by their narrow 1-0 loss to Argentina in the second Test at Kearsney College on Thursday, the South Africa men’s hockey team will be intent on victory when they take on the South American champions at 3 pm on the Queensmead Hockey Stadium turf in Umbilo, south of Durban, today.

“The second Test was a tight affair that we could have won had we taken our chances and scored first,” SA head coach Charlie Pereira said yesterday.

He said the SA performance was a “big improvement” on Wednesday’s first Test at Riverside Sports Club in north Durban, where soft goals played a part in the host country losing 4-2. “We limited our defensive errors at Kearsney and moved the ball down the outside channels,” he said.

“We played three new caps in Dylan Coombes, Dean Symons and Nic Spooner [all Southern Gauteng] and for this young and inexperienced group to perform at the level they did is commendable. Our objective [in this series] — to give players a chance and find players for certain positions — is working.”

Commenting on the first Test defeat, Pereira said that some unforced errors “cost us soft goals”.

“It is always difficult to win games from that point. Our back four were too static at Riverside and Argentina pressed very well, with two strikers and four links, forcing us down the middle, where they were able to turn over possession and hit us on the counter.”

Meanwhile, in a remarkable coincidence, SA and Argentina will be playing international hockey against each other on two continents at the same time today.

South Africa U21 will play Argentina U21 today at 2.10 pm SA time (live on SuperSport 7) in the play-off for 11th and 12th places at the Junior World Cup in Delhi, while the countries’ senior sides will be taking the field in the third Test at 3 pm SA time in Durban.


1st Test – Argentina 4 SA 2; 2nd Test – Argentina 1 SA 0; 3rd Test – Saturday (Queensmead 3 pm); 4th Test – Monday, December 16 (Queensmead 3 pm); 5th Test – Tuesday, December 17 (UKZN, Pietermaritzburg 6.30 pm).

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