As SuperGroup South Africa completed yet another victory at the African Hockey Road to Tokyo 2020 tournament, once again underlining their dominance in the African game, they once again had the attacking prowess of Lilian du Plessis to thank.
Lilian is still only 26 years of age but this was her fourth African Cup that she has partaken in, stretching back to her first one as a 20 year old in 2013. In that tournament, hosted in Nairobi Kenya, Lilian topped the goalscoring charts with 9 to her name and earned the award as the top goalscorer.
Two years later South Africa hosted the tournament in Randburg and Lilian helped herself to an amazing 18 goals including a goal in every one of the 6 games South Africa had to play. She netted 11 penalty corner goals, 2 penalty strokes and 5 field goals as she celebrated another goal scorer award.
In 2017 the tournament headed to Egypt and once again du Plessis made her ability count with three goals. Although she was not the tournament top goal scorer her goal in the final against Ghana as it came at a time when Ghana were pushing for an equaliser.
In 2019 the tournament offered significantly less goals with no team on the receiving end of an avalanche. Du Plessis played the opening three games netting just one goal but saved her best for the biggest game. The fiery striker banged in a hat-trick of the highest quality with two reverse stick shots giving the Ghanaians no chance.
The four goals scored in Stellenbosch remarkably gave Lilian her third top goalscorer award in four events. A feat that very few others can hold their own up to. In fact it also means that Du Plessis has now scored 34 goals in just 19 African Cup appearances, averaging just below 2 goals a game.
As SuperGroup South Africa celebrate their place that they have qualified for in Tokyo and prepare for their toughest opponent yet, SASCOC, lets take this opportunity to celebrate the brilliance that is Lilian du Plessis! On the African Continent she is simply out of this world.