South Africa, powered by Tops at SPAR, affectionately known as the BlitzStoks were looking for the opportunity to get their first win of the tournament and a second place in Pool B at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup in Pretoria as they took on Czech Republic on day 2.
A vociferous crowd greeted both teams but they were led to silence when Toms found a corridor of space in the circle off the back of the defenders and flicked over Anton van Loggerenberg to give the Europeans a lead. South Africa though pulled level thanks to the brotherly connection of Mustapha and Dayaan seeing the latter delight the crowd.
But they were stunned to silence as the darlings of the crowd conceded twice in a few minutes to be 3-1 at the end of the quarter. In the second quarter South Africa pulled one back through Mustapha Cassiem from a penalty corner but they went into the halftime break trailing 3-2.
It wasn’t something they would have to worry about for too long though. Mustapha was given the chance to level from a stroke after his brothers shot hit a foot on the line, and the younger Cassiem dispatched the ball superbly into the side netting. A minute later he had another stroke, this time after his brother was taken out in a physical battle. This time he changed height and direction but not effect as the goal gave the hosts the lead.
It was a lead they would not relinquish adding another through Mustapha after effecting a turnover. Despite the Europeans pulling a goal back the South Africans extended their lead through Chad Futcher, Mustapha again and captain Jethro Eustice as the hosts rode out an exceptionally ill-tempered ending to the game seeing the Czechs have two concurrent sin binned players on two separate occasions.
The South African men now sit in second place in their group and can confirm their spot in the Quarter-Finals with a victory against the United States tomorrow and in the process secure a best ever Indoor Hockey World Cup finish.