SA Men fight back, but fall short against Netherlands
A journey to be proud of. Despite falling to the Dutch in the Quarter Finals to the Netherlands, the SA Men captivated the country and made us proud! This is our team!#IHWC2023 pic.twitter.com/yUhASZxw77— SA Hockey (@SA_Hockey) February 11, 2023
The South African Indoor Hockey Men had already achieved their best-ever finish at an FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup by securing a Quarter Final spot. They however had loftier ambitions and took to the court in an attempt to emulate their female compatriots in qualifying for the Semi-Finals.
The Dutch though, heavily favoured, would have their own ideas and would produce a devastating and dominant Dutch first half to lead 5-0 at the half time break. They opened the scoring through captain Burkhart who fired past van Loggerenberg on the second attempt. Goals were added by a whipping finish from Wiegert Schut, a Joep Troost wonder goal and Bakker before Burkhart made it 5-0.The South Africans however showed characteristic fight and pushed forward from the back pulling a goal back through Chad Futcher. The South Africans removed their keeper and almost immediately found a second through Dayaan Casseim with a powerful reverse stick finish. The Netherlands feeling outnumbered decided to remove their keeper and match the South Africans and it added to the spectacle. South Africa won a stroke when Cassiem’s shot was saved on the line and Mustapha stood up confident to score from the stroke. Instead the best stroke save of the tournament was made low to deny the South African top scorer. He wouldn’t be denied for long as he showed tenacity to find a second and the stadium started almost literally rocking under the vibrance of the crowd. But unfortunately as time ran out the Dutch added a final goal and the South African men bid farewell to a tournament in which they played a massive part in the lasting impact of the tournament. For Netherlands the dream of repeating the 2015 success continues to live and breath as they Orange Army will next take on USA in the semi-finals.