The South African Hockey Men had a glowing 2021 which captured the hearts of the global hockey family. The reward for the performances was inclusion in the 2021 FIH Favourites top 10 lists. We are pleased to share that South Africa have been announced in the top 3 of both!
The third best goal of 2021, as chosen by the fans, goes to South Africa’s Dayaan Cassiem for his sensational strike against eventual Olympic gold medallists Belgium when the two sides met in the pool phase of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Cassiem, unquestionably one of the stars of the tournament at the showpiece event in Japan, netted a sensational solo effort against the Red Lions, running half the length of the field in possession before producing an outrageous flicked effort past the shoulder of brilliant Belgian goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch and into the net.
To score a goal of such rare quality against the reigning world champions and soon to be Olympic gold medallists was a moment to treasure for the immensely gifted attacker who, alongside younger brother Mustaphaa, represents a bright, exciting future for South African hockey.
The second best match of 2021, according to the fans, is South Africa men’s remarkable 4-3 victory over Germany in the Tokyo 2020 pool phase.
With an inferior ranking and up against a team many rated as potential winners, South Africa came into the match considered very much as underdogs but produced an incredible display to down the Rio 2016 bronze medallists, just days after the Europeans had handed out a 5-1 thrashing of Great Britain in their previous fixture.
Germany opened the scoring through Timm Herzbruch, but strikes from Matthew Guise-Brown and Keenan Horne put South Africa into a 2-1 lead. Die Honamas hit back with two goals of their own, as Lukas Windfeder and Constantin Staib established a 3-2 advantage ahead of half time.
However, field goals from Nicholas Spooner and rising star Mustaphaa Cassiem turned the match on its head, with South Africa producing a sensational defensive display in the latter stages to claim a extraordinary triumph over the eventual semi-finalists.
SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni praised the SA Hockey Men for the recognition they have received:
"We are immensely proud of the SA Hockey Men and what they achieved in 2021. To be recognised by the fans is testament to the thrilling display that they produced in Tokyo. Congratulations to Dayaan on being recognised for a scintillating solo goal against the Olympic Champions Belgium and to the men for their historic, wonderful victory against Germany! Thank you to all the supporters who voted, we look forward to more fond memories being created in Ghana next week!"