The South African U21 Men began their campaign at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia on Saturday against Germany. The two teams are utilizing the tournament as preparation for the FIH Junior World Cup where they will be in the same Pool as well.
South Africa did have the opening penalty corner, but James Flint fired it over the top via the aid of a deflection. In truth it was the African champions who shaded the first quarter but were unable to test the German keeper, although Ross Montgomery did beat Joshua Onyekwue Nnaji at the end of the quarter only to be denied by the upright and the opening quarter concluded goal-less.
Germany opened the score through Holdermann who cleverly got on the end of a quick counter attack that the South Africans would be slightly disappointed to not have reacted to. They were doubly disappointed three minutes later. Mateo Poljaric punished passive defending from the South Africans and hit home a second for the Europeans from just inside the circle. It remained 2-0 at the break.
South Africa would have looked for a fast starting second half, but the Germans read and copied the playbook coming out firing. Hoechemer started the move and finished it in scoring in the opening minute of the second half and his industrial play in the game had proven a painful nugget in the South African side. The fourth game from a deflection Sperling finishing off the pass of Holderman. And there was more delight for the Germans as they made it 5. Virissimo made a double save from a penalty corner, but Hasbach was given a third chance and that was enough to punish the South Africans.
The transitions in attack continued to trouble the South Africans with Hasbach getting the 6th with a back post deflection in. South Africa would get a consolation. A mis-trap eventually worked its way into the circle and Caleb Oliphant smashed the ball home from 2 meters to give the South Africans something small to cheer as the game ended 6-1.
The South Africans will be back in action on Monday against Great Britain at 10:05 South African Time.