South Africa failed to combine their stellar defensive efforts with offensive advantage at the Women’s Ice Hockey World Championship last weekend, with defeats to Germany and Ireland in Amstelveen dooming them to a play-off run of 13th-16th place.
Taking on the strongest Germany for a place in the quarter-finals, goalkeeper Fumelela Mbande spearheaded a stunning defense that saw South Africa miss out on the top eight with just one goal.
They left the world No. 4 team scoreless in the first half, but an early corner penalty in the second half proved the difference in a 1–0 defeat that impressed the hockey world nonetheless.
Saturday night’s defeat meant that less than 18 hours later, South Africa had to play again against an enthusiastic team from Ireland to finish in the top 12.
Sell yourself short
Unfortunately, after such a hard effort in the previous game, the team’s lack of strength led them to sell themselves out in a 2-0 loss.
After a bright start, South Africa gradually began to lose momentum, and poor discipline and maps did not help their cause. Ireland began to take control of the game and again only a hell of a defensive effort allowed them to score two goals. The Irish converted 13 free corners to 1 and scored 24 laps compared to 14 South Africans.
“We are disappointed with how we played,” said Lillian du Plessis, who earned 150 points.th cover on Sunday, said. “We let ourselves down a bit technically, we knew what to do tactically and it worked when we did it properly.
“It was hard to play right after the match against Germany, but we can’t use that as an excuse because individually we weren’t good enough.
“Now we need to regroup and refocus, prepare thoroughly for our next game and try to fix what we did wrong today,” Du Plessis said.