The South African men’s hockey team redeemed themselves somewhat by beating Canada 2-0 for their first victory at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Wednesday.
The side played with greater intensity than in their three prior matches which included runaway defeats against Australia and New Zealand.
They opened their campaign with a 4-2 loss to Scotland before taking a 4-0 hiding against Australia, followed by a 6-0 walloping at the hands of New Zealand.
But they managed to put that behind them and were a completely different beast against Canada, showing immense heart and determination.
The team received a talk from newly crowned Commonwealth Games 100m champion Akani Simbine ahead of the game, which perhaps added to their inspired performance.
The teams were goalless after the second chukka, but that changed shortly after the restart with Ryan Julius getting the breakthrough a minute into the next period.
Four minutes later controversy ensued when captain Tim Drummond landed a diving deflection into the back of the net in what should have been a goal.
The referee, however, bizarrely overturned the strike and referred it to the video umpire who adjudged that Drummond had made contact with the defender during his slide.
Drummond scored the goal before connecting with the other player, however, and to add insult to injury he copped a yellow card, sending him to the sideline.
South Africa had a few nervous moments in the final chukka with Canada camping out in front of their goal for a major part of the final minutes of the match, with six penalty corners going their way in this quarter alone.
In a desperate attempt to level the scores, Canada played without a goalkeeper in the last three minutes of the encounter, giving them an advantage in the field.
This backfired on them with South Africa countering after sustained pressure, and Reza Rosenburg landed the decisive blow with pretty much an open goal.