As you read this the South African Hockey Women will be waking up in Spain and gearing up for the FIH World League Semi-Final. The World League was established by the FIH in order to increase the amount of quality competition in the International circles and also to streamline both the World Cup and Olympic Qualification.
South Africa have qualified for this stage as they are ranked eleventh in the world and will take on a some of the best teams in the world. The FIH World League Semi-Finals take place in two venues, Spain where South Africa are taking part, and Belgium. The top 6/7 from the two Semi-Finals will qualify for the Olympics. That would be outstanding for South Africa who would not need the backdoor of the African Qualifier to gain access to Rio in 2016.
South Africa have been placed in pool B alongside the United States (ranked 5th), Germany (6th), Ireland (14th) and Uruguay (29th). The team will need to make the top 4 in order to qualify for the Quarter Finals and keep their hopes alive. In this round they could meet Argentina (3rd), China (7th), Great Britain (8th), Spain (15th) or Canada (20th). The goal will surely be to avoid the Argentinians who are a tour de force.
Looking to the squad you will also see three notable absentees. Marsha Cox, the legendary skipper, Sulette Damons and Marcelle Keet all miss out for various reasons and with Pietie Coetzee now retired their will be some young guns filling the gaps. The tournament will also be the first major tournament under new coach Sheldon Rostron, who replaced Giles Bonet earlier this year. The team will be led by the brilliant Nicolene Terblanche with support by Western Province’s Jade Mayne. The team is also able to call on the UJ Varsity Cup winner Lilian du Plessis who can be truly lethal on her day and Dirkie Chamberlain returns to continue her goal scoring achievements for the South African side.
The team will also be entering their first tournament after the sponsorship of Investec ended, but Private Property have stepped on board with Simon Bray, Private Property’s CEO, saying “We believe partnerships are the key to success. Private Property is privileged and proud to be partnering with our national women’s hockey team on their path to sporting success.”
Outstandingly you will be able to watch all the action live on Supersport as the countries only real sports broadcaster once again comes to the party and delivers hockey into your home! Support the ladies on the road to the Olympic Games.
Goalkeepers: Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng), Anelle van Deventer (North West)
Defenders: Lisa Deetlefs (Southern Gauteng), Celia Evans (North West), Erin Hunter (Western Province), Nicole Walraven (Free State)
Midfielders: Shelley Russell (Southern Gauteng), Line Malan (Free State), Illse Davids, Quanita Bobbs (both Western Province), Nicolene Terblanche (captain, Northern Blues)
Forwards: Jade Mayne (vice-captain), Candice Manuel (both Western Province), Lilian du Plessis, Bernie Coston (both Southern Gauteng), Dirkie Chamberlain (Northern Blues), Kelly Madsen (KZN Coastal Raiders), Tanya Britz (Free State)