Due to other results in the pool, the South African Hockey Men knew they could not mathematically secure a semi-final spot, but they could all but virtually assure they would be in the final four with a victory over Nigeria.
The Nigerians were fired up as their late arrival at the tournament meant they forfeited the opening game 5-0 and were desperate to try and compete for the Semi-Final. They have a great penalty corner battery and wanted to test the South Africans as much as possible.
The game started as a large cloud burst overhead in an almost torrential downpour. The rain along with the cold made conditions fairly challenging and both sides struggled to settle into a rhythm.
Sam Mvimbi opened the scoring in the fourth minute after a lengthy referral. His strike an instinctive one after the ball had come across the circle. Matthew Guise-Brown continued his good goal scoring tournament with a second of the tournament from a strong drag flick.
Nigeria pulled their goal back through James Samaila with a low hard penalty corner that snuck through Anton van Loggerenberg. But the two-goal cushion was restored by Brad Sherwood. Guise-Brown corner was saved but the rebound fell to Sherwood who finished easily.
The second half saw South Africa stretch the lead. Bili Ntuli getting his fourth of the tournament before Samaila hit a second, this time past Gowan Jones to make the score 4-2.
South Africa stretched the lead back to three with a counterattacking movement started and finished by Tevin Kok. South Africa continued to look dangerous on the counter attack of a game that was growing more fractured and tense. The South Africans looked more likely to add to the score and they did when Dayaan Cassiem hit the side net after a good pass from Jacque van Tonder.
Mustapha Cassiem also got in on the act converting another speedy counter attack as the South Africans pushed home their advantage. The hosts would laugh one last time scoring through Matt Guise-Brown with his fifth of the tournament ending the game 8-2.
The South Africans have all but mathematically secured their place in the Semi-Finals and a step closer to challenging for the spot at Paris 2024 on Sunday.
African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifiers (M) – Day 2 Results
Pool B – Kenya 1-0 Zambia
Pool B – Ghana 0-1 Egypt
Pool A – Uganda 0-0 Zimbabwe
Pool A – South Africa 8-2 Nigeria