Smith stays positive | SASCOC - SASCOC

Smith stays positive

Despite going down 6-4 to England in their second Hero Honda World Cup hockey fixture in New Delhi, India on Tuesday, South African captain Austin Smith remains positive.

South Africa lost to the European champions on Tuesday, following a 4-2 opening round loss to the world’s third-ranked side India on Sunday.

Said Smith: “I’m frustrated that we haven’t yet been able to put 70 minutes of top class hockey together. Obviously at this level it takes mere seconds to score, and it means a momentary lapse in concentration leads to a chance for the opposing team.

“We need to reduce the number unforced individual errors if we are to improve our ranking.

“The mood in the camp is positive though. The management,the team and I all know SA men’s hockey is moments away from achieving something new and special. We will continue to strive for that, and nothing less!’

On the game itself Smith said that the second half remains the problem for South Africa.

“It was an unusually hot day which suited us. We started well again! We had moved on mentally from the discouraging result against Spain and came out all guns blazing.”

The teams went into halftime level at 2-2.

“But the second half was all but over for us by the 53rd minute,” says Smith. “We allowed England to enter our circle at will and they neatly finished off three chances in eight minutes.

“Despite the score line we are never a team to lower our intensity, or our belief, and we continued to try and get a goal back. Marvin Harper was at hand again to score from a fine infield run from Shanyl Balwanth. The goal was later announced as Goal of the Day by the local TV broadcaster, Marvin getting into an outstanding position to finish the far post backstick cross.”

South Africa’s task doesn’t get any easier as they now play Australia in their next pool game on Thursday.