The South African men’s side and Egypt had always been on a collision course at the African Hockey Championships and right from the opening day of the event it was billed as a potential thriller.
The teams did not disappoint when they met in the final at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Sunday and in the end it was the hosts who claimed continental honours as they bagged a 4-2 victory in a frenetic encounter.
From the opening whistle to the final hooter the tempo did not wane.
It was the Egyptians who took the lead in the third quarter with a well-worked field goal but Matt Guise-Brown managed to even things up again with the first of his three drag-flick efforts.
The visitors replied shortly afterwards to make it 2-1 but Guise-Brown snuffed out their effort with another well executed short corner.
It was Julian Hykes who played a major role in South Africa claiming the lead for the first time, and then extending, as he first set up another short corner two minutes from time before linking up with Lloyd Norris-Jones for the fourth and final goal.
It meant that Guise-Brown was able to seal his hat trick and that Norris-Jones, who had started the attack before linking up with Hykes down the right, to seal the victory with 38 seconds left in the match.
The South African women’s side were also crowned as champions earlier in the day as they saw off Ghana 3-0 with goals courtesy of Jayde Mayne, Dirkie Chamberlain and tournament top-scorer Lillian du Plessis.
While the teams should be celebrating the fact that they have both earned Olympic qualification they are instead left to ponder what might be with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) stating late last week that winning this event wouldn’t be good enough.
Should they stick to their guns it would mean that Africa won’t have representation in the code at the Games in Rio de Janeiro next year.