Nov 11, 2023

Super South Africa down Switzerland to lift the Tuanku Zara Cup

Just over 24 hours after facing off in the final pool stage game of the Tuanku Zara International Cup, the South African Indoor Hockey Women and Switzerland met again in the final. In the previous 12 meetings between the sides the South Africans had the upper hand winning seven and drawing three. But none of that mattered as the two teams locked horns to decide the champions.

The opening quarter encapsulated the feeling of a final as both teams looked to gain the early upper hand and not find themselves chasing the game. And with few moments of key quality the first quarter ended goal-less.

South Africa had an early penalty corner in the second quarter as they raised the tempo. But the conversion attempt was poor and Switzerland saw the threat defuse. It really was a titanic tussle between two very good sides with neither making significant in-roads in goal scoring opportunities and both defences proving up to the test to the challenges, but it was Switzerland who would find the first goal, a superb flick from Ruby Zimmerman from a penalty corner right at the half time whistle to lead 1-0 at the break.

South Africa were bossing the possession in the second half but were not producing the moments of danger in attack, which coach AJ Spieringshoek would have found frustrating. With ten minutes remaining, the South Africans trailed by a single goal.

South Africa looked to up the ante again at the start of the fourth quarter but the stop start nature of the game allowed the Swiss to stop the momentum from building too quickly. South Africa were offered a golden opportunity to pull level when they won a penalty stroke but Tegan Fourie’s shot was superbly saved by Ursina Fazis.

The response was for South Africa to pull their keeper Sarah Paget. These reaped immediate rewards as Kayla de Waal force da triple save that then won a penalty corner. The resulting penalty corner saw another awarded after Malikah Hamza shot hit the defender and then Kayla de Waal levelled with just three minutes remaining. It was a big moment for a big player.

South Africa won a penalty corner in the final 30 seconds but it was superbly saved before another penalty corner was awarded as Switzerland failed to use the gap given to them. The shot from Cailynn den Bakker hit the foot on the line and a stroke was awarded, but after deliberation it was ruled that den Bakker’s shot had been hit and the game would end 1-1 and go to shootouts.

South Africa made the first save, but in the final round Malikah Hamza was unable to score and the shootout went to Sudden death. Switzerland scored, but so to did Kayla de Waal. Charlize Swanepoel made an incredible save and Tegan Fourie was presented with the chance to do it and she did sealing the title for the South Africans.

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