South Africa will head to the tournament for the 6th time looking to outdo their previous best of 10th place, achieved in both 2010 and 1994. To do that they will have to get out of a tough group featuring the hosts India, the world number 3 Belgium and world number 11 Canada.
With world ranked fifth India at the other end in their first match, South Africa have a tough task at hand but Coach Hopkins is looking at the positives.
Coach Mark Hopkins shared his thoughts on the squad:
“Every game at the World Cup is a big match. You try to start the tournament as well as you can. It’s exciting that we are playing our first match against the host nation. We will go into the game fairly confident. We feel we have the squad, skill set and tactics to play really good hockey and get results from the match,” he said.
“I think the pressure is on both sides. Being the host nation there is more pressure on India than us. We will just go out there and play the brand of hockey that is successful for us.”
Hopkins said his side’s goal coming into the tournament is to be become the most successful South African hockey playing nation in the history of the World Cup.
“We are a proud sporting nation and as a group we are looking to create history. The goal for us is to finish the tournament as the most successful South African hockey team in the men’s World Cup,” he said.
“We probably are a team that opposition has seen less videos off. People know less about our players because we don’t play much in the European leagues or Test matches than other nations. That is an advantage for us,” Hopkins added.
South Africa men’s team Player stats:
- World Rank : 15
- Last Appearance: 2014 (11th)
- Head Coach : Mark Hopskins
- Goalkeepers : Gowan Jones and Rassie Pieterse
- Most Capped Player : Austin Smith (162)
- Youngest Player : Dayaan Cassiem (19)
- Oldest Player : Rassie Pieterse (35)
South Africa men’s team for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018:
Full Squad: Gowan Jones, Rassie Pieterse,Tim Drummond, Dayaan Cassiem, Taylor Dart, Tyson Dlungwana, Jethro Eustice, Rhett Halkett, Tommy Hammond, Keenan Horne, Julian Hykes, Peabo Lembethe, Mo Mea, Bili Ntuli, Taine Paton, Richard Pautz, Austin Smith, Nick Spooner