South Africa vs. New Zealand has been a trending fixture in South African sport in 2023 and its latest chapter was etched in Chile on Thursday as the two junior hockey sides met in the 13-16 Playoff. Both New Zealand and South Africa had been consigned to this bracket having lost a shootout in their respective matches against India and Korea.
Both sides had penalty corners in the opening quarter but neither team was able to make an impact and breach the goalbox. In fact, it was a quarter of very few clear-cut chances. South Africa though would open the scoring in the second quarter through Paris-Gail Isaacs, her clevely placed shot throwing the keeper off. It would remain 1-0 until the half-time break.
The African champions would score the second though. Rea Phume was fed the ball near the top of the circle. Brodie Cochrane put her under pressure, but the South African top goal scorer managed to nestle the ball over the line and double the lead.
The Black Sticks would pull a goal back as they produced a different type of variation that saw the ball run all the way round to the baseline before it was converted on the pull back to set up a frenetic final 15 minutes.
Malikah Hamza led a counter attack soon after a penalty corner for New Zealand and the South Africans made their opposition pay. Hamza’s ball into the circle was diverted into the path of Ane Janse whose shot was deflected home to re-establish the two-goal cushion.
Despite New Zealand pulling their keeper to have an extra outfield player, South Africa was able to contain any further challenge from the Black Sticks and secured another South African sporting victory over the Kiwis.
South Africa will now take on their Southern African Neighbors Zimbabwe in the 13th place playoff and a repeat of the Junior African Cup final on Saturday.