London – The South African women's hockey team fired a scathing salvo at the video referral system after their 4-1 loss to New Zealand at the London Olympic Games on Tuesday.
It was the side's second consecutive loss at the Games, after they were thrashed 7-1 by Argentina on Sunday.
South African skipper Marsha Marescia called for a video referral, after the Black Sticks scored a goal late in the first half.
Marescia claimed the goal was scored from outside the area, but after the referral, the goal still stood.
The South Africans claimed the third umpire did not address the correct question regarding the goal.
“For us today, the questions weren't interpreted correctly between the umpire on the field and the umpire up in the video box,” Marescia said.
She added the language barrier between the on-field umpire and the third umpire also posed a challenge.
“It's something that's always going to be a challenge, because you've got a Russian doing the video referrals, so there is already a language barrier with the question being asked,” she said.
“You've got a Japanese umpire who can't tell you why she blew the whistle so even with that you have to bring the other umpire all the way across to try and interpret what she blew her whistle for.”
Marescia said the footage of the replay they viewed from the field did not support the referral in question.
The International Hockey Federation's communications manager Jenny Wiedeke, however, said the video broadcast in the stadium was not the same as that which the third umpire used in the review.
“What you see on the screen is essentially for entertainment purposes,” Wiedeke said.
“That we are clarifying with the teams after this because we feel that was the cause of a lot of comments and confusion.
“They looked up to the screen but that was something completely unrelated to the feed the video umpire uses.”
SA women's coach Giles Bonnet said it was an improved performance from the side's previous, but they were outplayed by a world class team.
“We didn't play well but New Zealand played really well,” Bonnet said.
“I mean they are in the top six in the world so it is normal that they played that way.
“I thought though that we played really well in the second half, but we just weren't able to turn it into goal shots, and turn it into points on the board.”
The team next face Germany – ranked third in the world – on Thursday and Bonnet said they did not expect too much out of the match.
“We must be realistic, we are 12th in the world,” she said.
“This team should stick together for four years and, in another two years, at the world cup, that's where I think this team should peak.
“We've got the USA and Australia coming up the last two games and we'll see if we can win some points.” – Sapa