Veteran Pietie Coetzee scored four goals including a hat-trick as South Africa trounced minnows Trinidad and Tobago 12-0 in a Commonwealth Games Pool A match here on Monday.
Coetzee, making a comeback to international hockey after a five-year break, has now bagged 198 goals from as many matches, a record among the current players.
Dirkie Chamberlain added three goals, two of which were field goals, while Jennifer Wilson hit a brace to kickoff South Africa’s campaign on a high.
The South Africans, who finished 10th in the World Cup in Argentina in September, dominated their rivals completely in the lop-sided encounter played before near-empty stands in blistering heat at the National Stadium.
“I am very happy with my hat-trick,” said Coetzee. “It is a privilege to score a hat-trick in an international match, and considering it is my comeback year, it is very satisfying.
“I had played for South Africa for 11 years and I was exhausted. I took retirement after that as I wanted to study emergency medicine.
“But after watching me play in the local league, my coach convinced me to make a return,” said the 32-year-old drag-flick specialist.
In the opening match of the competition, New Zealand scored a convincing 5-1 win against Wales in a Pool B encounter.
Katie Glynn put the Black Sticks ahead in the 18th minute before Wales equalised through Abigail Welsford 15 minutes later.
But world number seven New Zealand denied their 27th-ranked rivals any further success, scoring in quick succession in the second half through Gemma Flynn (37) and Anna Thorpe’s brace in the 51st and 59th minute.
Defender Clarissa Eshuis sealed the matter off a penalty corner just one minute before the final hooter.
“We expected to dominate Wales,” said Flynn.
“It was pretty hot and it was tough to sustain our energy levels. But the conditions were the same for both teams, so no excuses. We have got to be more clinical from now on.
“We need to improve in a few key areas, especially finishing. We should have scored more goals in the circle. We are working on our penalty corners as well as ball possession,” added the 20-year-old.
Midfielder Philippa Jones of Wales rued the team’s missed chances.
“We’re very disappointed with the second half,” she said. “We felt we were very much in the game till half-time but we lost our focus. We gave them too much time and space. We let them have too much time on the ball.” — Sapa-AFP