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Ken Borland

SA suffer most adverse outcome in opening Pro League match

Posted on March 09, 2022 by Ken

South Africa are hosting the FIH Hockey Pro League in Potchefstroom over the next fortnight with high hopes of being competitive, but the multitude of unforced errors they made caused a most adverse outcome in their opening match against the Netherlands on Tuesday night as they were hammered 11-1.

The Netherlands scored first, in the seventh minute, through a penalty stroke by Tim Swaen after an early defensive mistake by the hosts.

And the third-ranked Dutch side stamped their dominance on the game from the second quarter as they went into halftime 4-1 up.

The floodgates really opened in the final quarter as the Netherlands more than doubled a 5-1 lead, scoring four goals in the first six minutes.

South Africa, ranked 14th in the world, equalised at 1-1 in the 20th minute through Bili Ntuli’s excellent deflection of a reverse-sticks cross from Mustapha Cassiem, but they didn’t have a prayer thereafter.

Their main failing was their inability to hold on to the ball, basic mistakes gifting possession to the Dutch, and there was also some naïve defending.

Jip Janssen, with two set-piece goals, Swaen, Thierry Brinkman and Thijs van Dam, with two goals apiece, were South Africa’s chief tormentors.

“We played badly against a good team,” South Africa coach Garreth Ewing summed up succinctly. “We lost our shape completely in the last 30 minutes. But hopefully we have all learnt a lot.

“There’s a lot to take on board. This was a reminder of where we are in world hockey. We will have to come out with the right attitude tomorrow night against India.”

India beat France 5-0 in Tuesday’s other game.

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