South Africa men’s hockey team slump to a 9-4 defeat to Belgium
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CAPE TOWN - Dayaan Cassiem’s brace could not prevent the South Africa Men’s hockey team slumping to a 9-4 defeat to Belgium in their Pool B clash at the Tokyo Olympics.
Cassiem struck twice at the start of each half to go along with goals from his teenage brother Mustapha and Nqobile Ntuli, but the African champions could simply not stay with the pace of a slick Belgian outfit.
The Belgians were particularly clinical in their short corner execution with Alexander Hendrickx maintaining his goal-scoring hot streak here in Tokyo. The defender added another hat-trick to his tally after also banging in three goals in Belgium’s previous match against The Netherlands.
Veteran midfielder John-John Dohmen, who is competing in his fourth Olympics, banged home a brace, while Thomas Briels, Simon Gougnard, Cedric Charlier and Arhur van Doren also stuck the ball past Rassie Pieterse in the South African goal.
The defeat was the third of the South African team’s Tokyo 2020 campaign after previous losses to Great Britain (3-1) and The Netherlands (5-3) and they have now virtually been eliminated from the competition.
Coach Garreth Ewing will, though, take confidence from the performances of the Cassiem brothers. Both Dayaan and 18-year-old Mustapha have shown to be lively competitors with their technical ability level right up there with the elite of world hockey.
Both Dayaan’s goals on Tuesday were incredible pieces of individual skill, with the first goal coming after a solo effort that started in his own half before accelerating up field and flicking past Vincent Vanasch's shoulder.
The second goal was equally brilliant with Dayaan drilling home a superb back stick attempt that was almost a carbon-copy of Mustapha’s earlier effort.
South Africa have two games of Olympic competition remaining against Germany and Canada on Thursday and Friday respectively.