A new chapter in a remarkable rivalry was written on Wednesday afternoon in Kuala Lumpur as South Africa and Egypt for just the second time at a FIH Junior World Cup, with the previous encounter being a draw in 2005. The African heavyweights had both lost their opening games by a two-goal deficit to European opponents and knew that a defeat today would all but eliminate them from the quarterfinal battle.
With their two senior sides having recently contested the high tempered African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifier, you could be certain that both teams would go all out for the victory in Kuala Lumpur.
South Africa created the first meaningful chance of the quarter through Cameron le Forrestier, but the Egyptian keeper Mahmoud Hussin made the save. It was le Forestier that would open the scoring. A brilliant take down from Thabang Jeyi opened the space into the circle, his drive was perfect, his pullback even better and the goal was a perfect strikers finish from the number 9.
It got better for South Africa as they doubled the lead thorugh a penalty corner, won thanks to more industry form le Forestier. The penalty corner was perfectly placed by Calvin Davis and it was 2-0 at the first interval.
Egypt pulled a goal back from their captain Hossam Ragab. He drove through the middle of the park alone and won a penalty corner which he duly dispatched to half the deficit. South Africa won a penalty corner. Jaydon Brooker’s shot was saved, but rebounded to him and he fired home fiercely to re-establish a two goal lead at the half-time break.
South Africa had two presentable chances early in the second half but both were well saved by Hussin. But Egypt made the South Africans pay when their skipper Ragab netted from a penalty corner, just their second shot of the match. 3-2. Hussin produced a wonderful save from Calvin Davis, Egypt then won a penalty corner as the rain began to fall hard, but it was easily saved.
A frenetic finale, extended by a short rain delay, set up a crowd cliff hanger. Fortunately for the south Africans their resolute defense saw the African champs hang on and secure the upper hand in the All African battle.
The South African Youngsters complete their pool stages on Friday when they take on France in a game that will decide the group quarter-finalists.