African women champions South Africa have announced their 18-player squad for the 2018 FIH Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup. Sheldon Rostron’s squad, who qualified for the World Cup when they finished fifth at the FIH World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg in June 2017, features a blend of some superb youngsters coupled with experienced campaigners.
One of the notable names missing is Ilse Davids, who announced her retirement recently, while SA Player of the year for 2016, Celia Evans, misses out through a knee injury.
Shelley Jones and Dirkie Chamberlain will be key to South Africa’s approach at the World Cup as they take part in their fourth World Cups. Dynamic duo Lisa-Marie Deetlefs and Sulette Damons will take part in their third, while Nicolene Terblanche returns for her second after featuring at the Hague in 2014. Their collective experience will be key to a South African side featuring some incredible youngsters.
There is a return to the squad for Tarryn Glasby and Lilian du Plessis (Her second World Cup as well) who missed out on the Commonwealth Games, adding a much-needed threat in front of goal to the explosive talent of Candice Manuel. While the experienced trio of Erin Hunter, Nicole Walraven, and Kara Botes will be joined in defence by the exciting Simone Gouws, who was the Junior Player of the Tournament at the recently completed IPT.
Kristen Paton and Ongi Mali, often spoken of as the future of SA Hockey, will now be a very active part of the present. The team is completed by the Western Province duo Quanita Bobbs and Jade Mayne, who will look to continue their fine form in the green and gold when arriving in London.
South Africa will take part in Group C facing off against Germany (World Ranking – 6th) on 21 July, Spain (11th) on 26 July and Argentina (3rd) on 28 July. Teams that finish first will progress straight to the quarterfinals, teams finishing 2nd or 3rd will move to the playoffs while the fourth-placed team will be eliminated.
Sheldon Rostron, head coach of the South African women, is excited to work with the team.
“The group that we have created has a good blend of experience and youth. We have looked at specific skill requirements as well as the players form over the past 12 months. Simone Gouws will add a different dynamic in our defence, which we feel is needed, while the return of Lilian will make us a more threatening attacking team. As much as this is a team for the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup, it is also a team to build for the future of SA Women’s Hockey.”