The South African Indoor Hockey Men began their road to the 2025 Indoor Hockey World Cup at the inaugural Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup in Malaysia on Monday. Missing a few players from the World Cup squad including the Cassiem brothers and Ryan Julius, the South Africans gave debuts to Nicholas White, Phemelo Ramatlotlo and Luke Lange.
In their opening game against Hong Kong China, the South Africans settled quickly and put their opponents to the sword time and time again scoring 9 penalty corner goals and 10 field goals. There was a goal on debut for White while hat-tricks for captain Justin Domleo and Steven Paulo helped the South Africans score a remarkable 19 unanswered goals in a perfect start to the tournament.
The celebrations were high in the afternoon game against New Zealand as Justin Domleo became the first South African man to play 50 indoor hockey tests. Having made his debut in 2014 and featured in 3 World Cups, there could be no better person to receive that honor.
It was a first meeting between the two countries in indoor hockey with lots of underwritten stories about sporting clashes between the two countries recently. The African champions were keen to add another chapter to that very encouraging book.
It took just four minutes to open a two-goal lead with Keegan Hezlett scoring a stroke and Nic White a field goal. Dalpiarro Langford would add one more to lead 3-0 at the break. Experienced Rusten Abrahams got on the sheet for 4, before a consolation goal for NZ from Atkinson. Tournament top scorer from day 1 Paulo made it 5-1 and late on Lungani Gabela, the player of the match got the 6th.
A near perfect day 1 for the South Africans as they sit top of the table. They will play again on Wednesday.
Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup – Day 1 Results
South Africa 19-0 Hong Kong China
Namibia 3-2 New Zealand
Australia 2-8 Malaysia
South Africa 6-1 New Zealand
Hong Kong China 2-24 Australia
Malaysia 5-7 Namibia