|Battle for African U21 hockey supremacy at Randburg Saturday afternoon|
|Written by Administrator|
|Saturday, 20 October 2012 13:12|
As the clock ticks down to Saturday’s battles for hockey supremacy on the continent at Under-21 level, it’s worth taking a quick look at what defending champions South Africa expect to see in the Junior World Cup Africa Qualifier Tournament finals.
The 4.30 pm men’s final at Randburg Hockey Stadium should be the highlight of the tournament, based on the thrills and spills in South Africa’s 1-0 win over Egypt in a preliminary round encounter packed with drama, skill and controversy.
SA head coach Darryn Gallagher said after the team’s final video session Saturday morning that much of the focus would be about managing the Egyptian attack and being alert to unforeseen surprises.
“Egypt play Asian-style hockey, so they always have the ability to create the unexpected and you have to be prepared for any eventuality,”” said the Beijing 2008 Olympian.
“A well-organised defence on our part will be very important. From our side the intensity must be high, we are looking for good movement, and if we play smart hockey offensively we can create a lot of chances.
“Finals can become a game of chess with one goal deciding it, so we must expect the unexpected.”
South Africa have yet to concede a goal and their primary offensive weapons are penalty corner ace Matt Guise Brown (8 goals) and striker/alternate PC taker Grant Glutz (5), while Egypt have equally adept players in front of goal in Ahmed Gamal (7 goals), Ahmed Mohsen (5) and captain Amr Mohamed (5).
This gold medal match is anyone’s ball game.
The 2 pm women’s final sees hot favourites South Africa against Ghana. SA assistant coach Greg Beling said between final preparations late Saturday morning that the title match is the culmination of a two-year process.
“We are looking to play with discipline, improve in certain areas,” said Beling. “If you look back on the [4-0] win against Ghana [in the preliminary round] we never scored a penalty corner, so that is one area where we are looking to improve.
“Ghana will be very physical, we can expect them to try and disrupt our passing game and to focus on disrupting certain key individuals in our side, but if we play to our strengths it should be a successful game for us.”
Despite the lack of PC successes in the Ghana preliminary round match, the SA women have scored a hatful in the tournament and will be looking to top scorers Lilian du Plessis (5) and captain Izelle Lategan (5) to spearhead their shots on goal.
courtesy: JONATHAN COOK www.sahockey.co.za
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 20 October 2012 18:24 )|