By MJ Majuru
The South Africa national women’s hockey team qualified for the 2018 Hockey World Cup in London by beating Ireland in the FIH Hockey World League Semi-Finals.
South Africa won the 5th/8th play-off match by 3-0.
The victory meant that South Africa can’t finish lower than sixth in the tournament and the top 6 teams automatically qualifies for the FIH World Cup.
With the fourth penalty corner of the game Lisa-Marie Deetlefs hit the back of the goal-box to give SA the lead. With a minute left before halftime Ireland got a penalty shot, but it was missed giving SA the lead going into the change-room.
Bernadette Coston scored the second goal for South Africa after four minutes play in the last chukka. With nine minutes left Ireland took off the goalkeeper and played with a kicking-back. With no goalkeeper Lillian du Plessis added to the score-line with some five minutes left.
“It is a very special day. We had a goal and is super happy that it all worked out,” said Coston.
Captain Sulette Damons added: “It is phenomenal to win this very important match. It is awesome to know that we have qualified and achieved the goal of that. We have a target of finishing fifth though and we are still on track.”
SA is 13th on the world ranking and Ireland 15th. SA will now play against Japan for 5th place in the tournament.