Win or bust for SA | SASCOC - SASCOC

Win or bust for SA

The time for talking is over.

The SA men’s hockey team can only take one of two routes ÔÇô either they beat Japan in Thursday evening’s Champions Challenge quarter-final at the Randburg Hockey Stadium or they prepare to book their flights for the long haul to Japan in April.

This is the stark truth facing skipper Austin Smith’s men, as our Olympic governing body SASCOC has said that only a berth in Sunday’s Champions Challenge final will convince them that the team is worthy of being included in Team South Africa’s contingent for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

And should the SA team not negotiate the hurdle in the form of the formidable Japanese squad Thursday, the men in green and gold will be resigned to playing in the last-chance saloon that is the Olympic Games Qualifier tournament in Japan in April/May next year, an event they will have to win in order to get to London.

The quarter-finals were scheduled to take place from Thursday morning. The countries that have already qualified for London 2012, Belgium and Argentina, face the lesser-ranked Canada and Poland respectively before eight-time Olympic Games gold medallists India face Asian sub-continent rivals Malaysia.

Then it’s the turn of the SA men to leave no stone unturned in their bid to topple Japan for a place in Saturday’s semi-finals.

It’s not mission impossible.