South Africa will be playing India in the opening game of the Men’s Hockey World Cup at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium on November 28. Trailing at the 15 in the world ranking, the African side will face an uphill task to encounter the hockey giants, including Belgium, Canada, and the host country in the Pool C.
At the arrival of the team on Wednesday, captain Tim Drummond expressed his excitement for the game in India. The 30-year-old said it will be a privilege to play India in the first match in front of a cheering crowd.
South Africa finished their campaign in 11th position in the 2014 World Cup held in the Hague. Although most of the players are traveling to India for the first time, they are confident of improving for the 10th position. The team’s campaign will be geared with experienced goal scorers, including veteran Rhett Halkett, goalkeeper Gowan Jones and Rassie Pieterse who were also part of the 2014 World Cup. The country’s previous best finish at a World Cup is 10th place, which was achieved in 1994 and 2010.
South Africa Squad for 2018 Hockey World Cup: Tim Drummond, Dayaan Cassiem, Taylor Dart, Tyson Dlungwana, Jethro Eustice, Rhett Halkett, Tommy Hammond, Keenan Horne, Julian Hykes, Gowan Jones, Peabo Lembethe, Mo Mea, Bili Ntuli, Taine Paton, Richard Pautz, Rassie Pieterse, Austin Smith, Nic Spooner.
Head coach: Mark Hopkins