Its objectives achieved from the series for SuperGroup South Africa as they sealed a series whitewash over their African neighbours Namibia. In the first home test match for the South African Women’s Hockey team since the FIH World League Semi-Finals in July 2017, there was a massive sense of excitement to have the National team playing at home again.
Along with playing at home for the first time in 2 years, the series also offered test debuts for Hannah Pearce, Nomnikelo “Nicky” Veto, Robyn Johnson, Tegan Fourie and the youngster in the team Bianca Wood. Alongisde that Robin van Ginkel and Inky Zondi headed up the team for the first time and Erin Hunter captained for the first time.
Their opposition would be a determined Namibian side featuring several of the African Indoor Champions, also preparing for their own trip to Spain. Their coach Erwin Handura, also coach of the indoor side, was determined to limit their opposition chances and set up with a very defensive game plan.
South Africa, wearing their splendid new Grays Hockey kit, looked to impress the crowd at Randburg and did just that in a series where they kept three clean sheets, while scoring 11 themselves. Two of those goals were firsts as well as Nicky Veto and Izelle Verster both netted for the country for the first time. Quanita Bobbs ended the series with the most goals having netted a brace in the third test, with nine other players each getting one.
Although South Africa were always expected to beat the Namibians, who are ranked significantly lower, but it was the manner of the victory against a team heading to the same tournament in Valencia that will please the South African management team.
“We had five new caps, so it’s a newish side, but I’m very happy with how we have stepped up in each game. Our counter cover and defence were good and limited Namibia’s circle entries.” Shared Robin van Ginkel. “We have one more camp and then we are headed to Spain in a good position.”
“It is such an honour to play for your country and to be given the opportunity to lead your country is incredibly special,” shared new captain Erin Hunter “I look to lead by example and hopefully that is what is best for my team. After a long break from International hockey its great to be here again. We don’t play for ourselves, we play for our country and the people who support us!”
SuperGroup South Africa vs. Namibia Series Results
Test 1 – SA
Test 2 – SA 2-0 NAM
Test 3 – SA 8-0 NAM
Supergroup South Africa Squad for FIH Hockey Series Final
Steph Baxter, 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).
Fixtures – Hockey Series Final
19 June – South Africa vs. Wales
20 June – South Africa vs. Italy
22 June – South Africa vs. Thailand
24 June – Crossovers
26 June – Semi-Finals
27 June – Final
Photos – Robert Swanepoel Photography