JOHANNESBURG - They may have left it late but the South African men made it eight out of eight consecutive titles at the African Hockey Cup of Nations to book their place for next year’s World Cup in India.
The Proteas managed to beat a spirited Egypt, claiming a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the hosts.
It was their eighth African title on the trot and sixth consecutive victory over the Egyptians in the final.
It was an historic day for Sheldon Rostron coaching both the men’s and women’s sides to African titles at the same tournament.
The men’s victory should be the most satisfying against the hosts that seemed to have made inroads into South Africa’s dominance on the continent.
Their pool match from earlier in the week ended in a stalemate, while Egypt beat South Africa earlier this year.
Egypt made a promising start when Ahmed Alganaini landed an early blow with a goal eight minutes into the match.
The home side managed to keep South Africa out in the first half, compounding fears that the Proteas may miss out on the World Cup.
Playing in his 99th match, Taine Paton instilled some hope when he equalised nine minutes after the restart striking the ball in the top right corner.
But his goal did little to calm the nerves as South Africa battled to plant the decisive blow.
As time ticked by it looked certain the match would go into extra-time.
Jethro Eustace turned doubt into jubilation as he dragged a penalty corner into the back of the box to secure the victory and a place at the World Cup.
It was mission accomplished for the women’s side as they claimed their seventh consecutive continental title beating Ghana 4-0 in the final.
With a place for next year’s World Cup in London already secured, the victory is expected to launch them up the rankings from 13th to 11th place on the global ladder.
The South African women managed to keep a clean sheet bowing out of the tournament with a total of 28 goals in five matches.
The giants of African football found the breakthrough in the 19th minute courtesy of an Illse Davids field goal.
Lilian du Plessis added the second goal six minutes later.
Tarryn Glasby scored on either side of the half-time break for her brace to take the match away from the Ghanaians.
Goal-scoring machine Dirkie Chamberlain failed to get onto the scoresheet for the first time in the tournament.
Chamberlain was the leading points scorer with eight goals to her name.
Coaches play such an important role in success, thanks to Sheldon Rostron and his support staff for doing the double in Egypt today🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/TYns1R6Tdg