SA win 18-0 at Cup | SASCOC - SASCOC

SA win 18-0 at Cup

Forget the old television serial “Eight is enough”… for a slick-passing South Africa men’s hockey team 18 was enough as they got off to a great start at the Africa Cup Olympic Games Qualifier tournament in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on Friday with a comprehensive 18-0 demolition of a brave Morocco.

The impressive Khumalo Hockey Stadium bore witness to a fine exhibition of how to undo dogged defenders and unlock stubborn defences as the South Africans’ measured playing pattern carved the north Africans up with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. To their credit the Moroccans never gave up trying.

ÔÇ£Gregg [head coach] couldn’t have wished for a better start,ÔÇØ said SA assistant coach Kurt Cerfontyne.

It reminded one of a chess master at work, drawing his opponent out, luring him back in and then striking with deadly effect. And aside from the finesse, there was also liberal use of the sledgehammer as 10 of 16 SA penalty corners in the match found their target.

ÔÇ£Looking ahead to what might be more physical games, it’s vital that your penalty corners work well and we can tick that box,ÔÇØ said Cerfontyne. ÔÇ£And we have more penalty corner ideas that we won’t reveal just yet.ÔÇØ

Northern Blues ace Justin Reid-Ross (6) sounded an ominous warning to the teams that SA still have to play, as did KZN Coastal Raiders kingpin Gareth Carr (3) and Kaspersky Southern Gauteng’s Ricky West (1). The South Africans’ array of penalty corner weapons is a massive plus for a team has the potential to be one of the country’s best-ever combinations.

Then there were the six goals from field play, almost all scored from inside the six-yard area as the Moroccan defence was picked apart.

Forget questions about the quality of the opposition; it was the polished manner of victory that left a lasting impression. Amathole’s Julian Hykes (2), Southerns captain Miguel da Graca (2), KZN Raider Tim Drummond (2), Western Province’s Ian Haley and Northerns Blues’ Jonty Robinson all got on the scoresheet after well-constructed offensive plays that often involved five or six players.

┬áÔÇ£We said to the guys before the match that this game was about setting a benchmark. Our preparation was good and the technical skill was impressive,ÔÇØ added Cerfontyne. ÔÇ£The players are very happy with the fast turf, our ball speed was decent, the passing was very crisp and the defenders were moving the ball nicely around the back, letting the ball do the work instead of trying to be too direct, which can happen when you are dominating ÔÇô and that leads to goals being wasted.ÔÇØ

Captain Wade Paton’s crew meet Kenya at midday on Monday.

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team tackle Kenya at 4pm Saturday.