Namibia: SA Clinch Hockey Series

South Africa clinched their outdoor hockey men's test series after beating MTC Namibia 3-0 in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening.

After beating Namibia 7-0 and 2-1 in the opening two tests, South Africa have now taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Goals by Chad Futcher, Mustaphaa Cassiem and Ignatius Malgraff gave SA a comfortable win, but Namibia were never outplayed and the score could have been much closer if they had taken their chances.

Namibian keeper DJ Strauss pulled off a fine early save from a Cassiem deflect, and although Namibia settled in well in the opening stages, South Africa took a decisive lead with two goals in three minutes.

Chad Futcher opened their account on 11 minutes with a shot that Strauss could not clear, while Mustaphaa Cassiem made it 2-0 with a fine solo goal three minutes later.

Namibia started creating more opportunities in the second quarter, with Brynn Cleak shining in midfield, but Owen Hatton and Dylan Finch could not finish them off, while an Ernest Jacobs short corner was well saved by SA substitute keeper Siyavuya Nolutshungu.

South Africa increased their lead midway through the third quarter when Ignatius Malgraff tapped in a cross by Andrew Hobson.

Namibia had more chances, with a Cleak backstick shot well saved by Estiaan Kriek, while another two short corners went to waste after poor ball control in the box, as South Africa completed a workmanlike victory.

Namibia's assistant coach Johan Weyhe said they had a poor start to the series.

Öur players were just not there for the first test, we made very simple mistakes, with our defence and attack and therefore, the first match didn't go very well. But we need to remember that South Africa is currently ranked 14th in the world and number one in Africa, while Namibia is ranked 59th in the world and sixth in Africa," he said.

Weyhe, however, said they did much better in the second test.

"The players did a brilliant job in the second test. They are still a very young team but played very well against a team ranked much higher. We had our opportunities to score and the coach (Trevor Cormack) and I also discussed the fact that our big problem is that we dont have strikers that can finish off our chances. So that is one of the aspects of hockey that we need to look at, to get strikers that can finish off and put us on the scoreboard as well," he said.

Weyhe said they once again failed to take their chances in the third test.

Ïn the third test we conceded stupid goals, and I think if there had been a bit more concentration, the score could have been totally different.

We had our opportunities to score and at half time it could have been 2-all, but "could have been" does not reflect on the scoreboard," he said.

The fourth test took place last night, while the fifth and final test takes place tomorrow evening and Weyhe said they would go all out to get some good results.

Ïn our final matches we are really going to try our best to either get a draw or to win the match. If we could beat the 14th-ranked country in the world, our world and Africa rankings would receive a big boost. We have a very young team, but they are very talented and play really good hockey," he said.

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