All hockey loving eyes will divert to Randburg Astro turf tonight and this weekend as Supergroup South Africa’s Women’s Hockey team take on Namibia in a three match test series. The series marks a lot of significant firsts for South Africa. It will be the first test match as head coach for Robin van Ginkel, the first test match for Erin Hunter and Phumelela Mbande as captain and vice-captain respectively and it also offers Bianca Woods, Hannah Pearce, Robyn Johnson and Nikki Veto their first caps for the national team.
The test series offers van Ginkel and his coaching staff a valuable opportunity to try out a few combinations ahead of the FIH Open Series Final in Valencia, it also offers the team an opportunity to give the South African hockey public a rare glimpse of national hockey on home soil.
Their opponents will be far from a pushover having qualified for the Valencia showpiece themselves in a tough tournament in Zimbabwe recently. They also have a host of players who shone in South African Club hockey including Petro Stoffberg and Gillian Hermanus, while Maggie Mengo will be influential alongside Jerrica Bartlett (Cormack). With both sides using the series as preparation for Spain, you can bet that it will be anything other than a boring friendly.
“This series could not come at a better time, its our first home test since World League in 2017. We love playing in front of our South African fans. We have some exciting new caps coming in and offers a few players and opportunity to get back into the fold. Its an important series towards our preparation for Spain. Its also been great for team cohesion off the field and there is a great bond in the team. We can wait to play this series and make South Africa proud!” shared national vice-captain Phumelela Mbande.
Supergroup South Africa will leave for Spain on the 13 June and will take on Wales, Italy and Thailand in Pool B. The goal for the tournament will be to finish in the top 2 to keep Olympic Qualification opportunities alive.
South Africa vs. Namibia Test Series Fixtures
24 May 2019 – 19:00
25 May 2019 – 11:15
25 May 2019 – 19:00
Supergroup South Africa Squad
Tegan Fourie, Celia Evans, Izelle Verster, Marizen Marais, Kristen Paton, Robyn Johnson, Kara Botes, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lisa Deetlefs, Nikki Veto, Erin Hunter (c), Hannah Pearce, Lilian du Plessis, Phumelela Mbande (GK)(VC), Quanita Bobbs, Tarryn Glasby, Bianca Wood and Mmatshepo Modipane.
Gill Doig (Team Manager), Robin van Ginkel (Head Coach), Inky Zondi (Assistant Coach), Cindy Nel (Physio), Taren Naidoo (Trainer) and Wayne Hendricks (Video Analyst).
All games take place at Randburg Astro and entry is R10.