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South Africa begin the 2022 FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup against Belgium

South Africa began the 2022 FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup quest this afternoon against Belgium, a team ranked ten spots ahead of themselves. It was the first official test match under Giles Bonnett who was recently reappointed to the role. It also marked international debuts for Jean-Leigh du Toit and Kayla de Waal, both of who starred for the SA U21 Women at the Junior World Cup.

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It was a combative opening 15 minutes as the Belgians threw themselves at the South Africans with the desire to score the game's opening goal, but they met a wonderfully resolute defensive rear-guard from the African Champions. Belgium created 13 circle entries and 7 shots along with 7 penalty corners but was ultimately left with more questions than answers after the opening quarter.

Those questions were answered not once but twice in quick succession in the second quarter. Having been unable to score from seven penalty corners in the opening exchanges the Red Panthers took the lead and doubled it with two from the corner within a minute from Stephanie vanden Borre. South Africa were spurred into action from the double punch and started a period of competitiveness that was far more pleasing for the management team. Having the lions share of possession the South Africans made it count when they won a penalty corner and debutant Jean-Leigh du Toit fired in her debut goal.

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With momentum and belief going the South Africans and Belgians slogged out a third quarter with two chances each only but no goals. South Africa unable to convert from their two penalty corners but would have felt the opportunity was there for the taking.

Unfortunately for the South Africans it was the European nation who took the game by the scruff of the neck and ramped up the pressure. In the individually most dominant quarter of the game Belgium won 7 penalty corners and created 17 shots at goal. One of those penalty corners was converted for the Belgians when the variation found Charlotte Engelbert open on the back post unmarked and she finished easily. Engelbert would add a second as she finished when she reacted first from a Mbande save and fired into the bottom left corner.

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After a defeat to open the campaign the South Africans play Japan on Tuesday at 18:00. Japan lost 2-0 to Australia in their opening match so both teams will be looking for a win to qualify for the crossover phase of the tournament.

FIH Womens Hockey World Cup – Group D – Result

Belgium 4-1 South Africa

SA Sport, Hockey, Ladies, Press Releases, Proteas, FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup

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