Having watched the South African Women go down to a narrow defeat in their opener, the South African Indoor Hockey Men, powered by Tops at SPAR, were determined to give themselves a winning start as they took on 2018 fourth place finishers Australia.
They couldn’t have asked for a better start. Lungani Gabela’s shot was rebounded to Chad Futcher who shaped to shoot but was taken out and a penalty stroke was awarded. Mustapha Cassiem stepped up to fire home his 53rd international indoor goal.
Elation and jubilation doubled up for the South Africans when Cassiem made it 54 reacting to a goal bound effort that sneaked off to him. His goal delighted the home crowd.
The Australians though have a tenacious fighting spirit and found their way back into the game. Ben Staines pulling a goal back for the Australians just before the half-time break. In the third quarter Jake Sherren levelled matters with a well struck penalty corner into the top corner.
For the South Africans the frustrations grew as Australia completed a superb turnaround with Jack Staines scoring on a counterattack right on the hooter to give the Australians the lead. The South Africans had a few half chances but were looking to raise the tempo and precision in the final quarter of the game.
They did exactly that as they asked questions on a continuous basis, and they eventually found the answer through their inspirational captain Jethro Eustice who fired home from a penalty corner for his fourth historical Indoor Hockey World Cup goal.
The South Africans continued to look for a winner but were unable and ultimately the two teams settled for a draw.
Photo: Marcel Sigg / Worldsportpics