Funding puts dampener on SA Men's Hockey Olympic trip

amaStokostoko through to Olympics after win against Japan, but worry about how they will get there.

SA striker Julian Hykes takes on Austrian defender Sebastian Eitenberger as Austria's captain Armin Stremitzer looks on during the 2-2 draw in the Olympic Qualifier Tournament at Gifu Green Stadium in Kakamigahara, Japan. Photo: Stanislas Brochier

JAPAN - Funding has once again reared its ugly head in South African sport - this time, it's the Men's Hockey Team.

The amaStokostoko as they are casually known, pulled off an incredible win in Japan at the weekend, defeating the hosts 2-1 in a very tense final in front of an earsplitting crowd.

Captained by Austin Smith, South Africa maintained a flawless record throughout the tournament, one in which they had to win to ensure Olympic qualification.

Their only 'blemish' was their 2-2 draw against the hosts in the round robin phase.

Now that they have qualified, the really hard work begins.

They will come up against some of the sharpest, precise hockey units in the world - far better than what they came across in Kakamigahara.

Head Coach Gregg Clark commented on the lack of experience of his players saying, "We've had limited competition, limited time together in training camps. When you get to a final like that and you have to make sure you get it right in the moment, it can be incredibly difficult not being able to draw on heaps and heaps of games where you've been in that same position."

In order for the team to train as best as possible Clarke said, "I've blocked out a whole bunch of dates for the players so they know they can try and plan their lives. But it's been incredibly difficult to try and get any sort of competition at this stage because we haven't been able to give teams guarantees that we will be there or book tickets because we haven't had the funding. So it's been very difficult. We haven't got a whole lot of competition in place".