The SPAR South Africa women’s Indoor hockey side that will be heading to the 2022 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup in Belgium has been named. The South African side received an invite to the tournament after the withdrawals due to COVID travel restrictions by both Australia and New Zealand.

For the SA Women it’s a new era after the retirement of legendary skipper Cindy Hack, along with the unavailability of Celia Seerane and Kelly Reed. It offers opportunity for a number of players, while Jessica O’Connor, who will become the most capped player at the World Cup, is a natural successor as captain.

They do however have a number of highly experienced players with Jamie Southgate having received her 50th cap at the Indoor Africa Cup of Nations, while Edith Molikoe, Jess Lardant, Eloise Walters and Robyn Johnson all have more than 30 test caps for their country.

South Africa will be competing for the fourth time at the FIH Indoor World Cup and would love nothing more than to improve on their 9th place finish at the 2015 World Cup. Under coach Lennie Botha the team have played a remarkable 108 test matches, winning 78 of them.

Of course, the South Africans have a remarkable run of form since the 2018 Indoor Hockey World Cup. They have played 53 test matches, winning 41 drawing 6 and losing just 6. Including victories against Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

South Africa will be in Pool B alongside Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Namibia and Netherlands, with the top 4 teams advancing to the Quarter Final Stage

SA Captain Jessica O’Connor is eagerly anticipating the challenge

“We are SO excited to get to Belgium and take on the best in the world. The combination of experience and young new talent has created an exciting balanced dynamic. As always, we want to thank Spar for constantly backing us. We hope to make South Africa Proud.”

SA Women’s Indoor Team – FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2022

Player

Province

Caps

Charlize Swanepoel

Mpumalanga

4

Nepo Serage

Western Province

0

Jessica Lardant

SPAR KZN Raiders

30

Eloise Walters

KZN Inland

49

Daniela De Oliveira

SPAR KZN Raiders

5

Edith Molikoe

Northern Blues

35

Jamie Southgate

Western Province

53

Jess O'Connor

SPAR KZN Raiders

108

Tamlyn Kock

Southern Gauteng

0

Robyn Johnson

Southern Gauteng

44

Tegan Fourie

SPAR KZN Raiders

34

Kayla De Waal

Western Province

17

 

Travelling Reserves

Dunell van Taak

Northern Blues

0

Kirsty Adams

North West

0

SPAR South Africa captain Cindy Hack has announced her retirement from International Indoor Hockey. Hack who is the most capped African Indoor Hockey player became the first player to reach 100 caps against Ireland in December 2019.  She retires with 110 caps to her name and remarkably 108 goals.

“After a wonderful international hockey career, I would hereby like to officially announce my retirement from South African International and provincial hockey. I am eternally grateful for all the support over the years, and I feel privileged to have been able to represent and captain for my country on so many occasions for so many years. I am so excited to see what lies ahead for the incredibly talented young players! I look forward to supporting from the stands as the next generation takes the game forward!” shared Hack in announcing her retirement.

From her debut back in 2006, through two Indoor Hockey World Cups and the birth of two wonderful daughters, Hack has been the epitome of a professional. This in an amateur sport where she must still be a full-time mother and complete her day job working for the University of Free State. At an advanced age in hockey terms, Hack is playing with a youthful exuberance more so now than previously in her career. Much like a fine wine, Hack kept getting better with age!

Hack enjoyed tremendous success with the team in recent years leading them to the Croatian Cup as well as series victories over Switzerland, Ireland and Czech Republic, while sharing a test series with Poland away from home.

On the occasion of her 100th test match, Jamie Southgate, her national teammate for more exactly half her tests, was glowing in her praise of Hack.

“Since I have been in the team, Cindy has always been the busy bee of the team, if she is not playing hockey then she is working and if not working she is looking after two incredible daughters. Our captain fantastic, Cindy is an outright goal scoring machine, she has so much more knowledge and experience of the game which helps a lot of individuals find their feet in the national team, including me. Not only that, but her personality is so warm and welcoming that there is no fear to just be yourself. Cindy, along with the seniors, have played a vital role in installing a family orientated culture and I will forever be proud to call these ladies my family. Cindy is a pillar of strength in our team and possesses all the qualities of a true leader. Most importantly she is my friend, and I am so honoured to be able to play alongside someone of her calibre.”

SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni shared

“On behalf of the South African Hockey Association I would like to thank Cindy for her fantastic and unwavering dedication and commitment to the sport. Cindy has always carried herself with dignity and class and was a model representative for the green and gold. Well, we are sad we won’t see you on the court anymore, the impact you have had will be seen for many more years to come!”

The opening day of the Indoor Africa Cup at Thomas More College in KwaZulu Natal produced goals galore and a superb tight tussle between the continents top 2 sides as SPAR South Africa ended day one on top of the table.

In the morning session both the African heavyweights welcomed Botswana to their first International tournament with heavy victories as they both made their presence in the tournament felt immediately. Playing in front of an empty crowd did not stop either side from their dominant displays as both laid out their first marker for the day.

Its set things up for a bumper final match of the night in the women’s game as a repeat of the 2017 final was played between Namibia and SPAR South Africa. The match also marked Jamie Southgates 50th cap for the South Africans.  The South Africans made the most of a dominant start with Edith Molikoe turning things over and giving the hosts a well-deserved lead.

Although they were very good in possession, the South Africans weren’t creating as many chances as they would have liked, but Jess O’Connor and Celia Seerane were dominant in limiting the chances of the defending champions. South Africa were finally able to get the second in the fourth quarter with Kelly Reed benefitting from a fortuitous deflection off Sunelle Ludwig. It was a goal the performance probably deserved and there was a collective sigh of relief.

The door was however slightly ajar, and Namibia managed to pull one goal back, but it was too little too late for Maggie Mengo’s team who end day one with a 50% record.

Indoor Africa Cup 2021 – Day 1 Results - Men

South Africa 26-0 Botswana
Namibia 30-0 Botswana
South Africa 2-1 Botswana

The Men’s tournament also offered goals galore in the opening salvos as both Namibia and South Africa welcomed Botswana to International Indoor hockey with big victories, setting up a mouth-watering clash for the days final game of the day.

The much-awaited clash did not fail to live up to its billing as a hot-tempered clash offered an insight into what to expect over the next two days. A clash of giants with Hack vs. Cormack an interesting sub plot.

Although the game was hotly contested, in truth the hosts and defending champions were always in control from the moment they took a 1-0 lead through a superb Justin Domleo strike. The celebration clearly showed how much importance both teams were placing on this match up.

Namibia kept South Africa honest by pegging the score back to 1-1 (Hermanus), 4-2 (Hatton) and 5-3 (Hermanus). But a brace for Mustapha Cassiem was in the end enough for a South African victory and top of the table after day 1. Both teams will be looking to make a further statement in their match up tomorrow ahead of an almost confirmed final on Sunday afternoon.

Indoor Africa Cup 2021 – Day 1 Results - Men

Namibia 27-0 Botswana
South Africa 36-0 Botswana
South Africa 2-1 Botswana

The day 2 matches will be streamed live on the Rayder Media YouTube page or on the Watch.Hockey app.

The South African Hockey Association has announced the team that will represent the country at the African Indoor Cup, African Hockey’s Indoor World Cup Qualifier, in Durban in April. The team features three uncapped players in the 12, along with the two most capped indoor hockey players in Africa.

Cindy Hack and fellow centurion Jess O’Connor will be paramount to the South Africans goals of winning back the tournament from Namibia and securing the spot at the Indoor World Cup in Belgium next year. The two centurions are also joined by experienced playmaker Kelly Reed and Celia Seerane (Evans) in a team brimming with talent.

Tegan Fourie, Jamie Southgate, Edith Molikoe, Robyn Johnson and Zimi Shange are all closing in on their own milestones of 50 Test caps and the fact that they have graced the international courts with some of the world’s best players like Janne Muller-Wieland, Alex Heerbert and Marlena Rybacha will hold them in good stead for sure.

It’s been almost 16 months since the team last played, but that was on the back of a wonderful run of form including series victories against Switzerland, Ireland and Poland. They will undoubtedly look to bring that form back as soon as they are on the court together again in Durban.

Charlise Swanepoel from Mpumalanga will have her first opportunity to wear the national smock in goals, while Cheneal Raubenheimer will also win her first cap for SPAR South Africa. Exciting young Daniella de Oliveira is the third of the new caps in coach Lennie Botha’s squad.

“I am incredibly proud of the effort the team have put in throughout the difficult COVID Pandemic. We have had to make some difficult decisions, but our selection team have put together a squad of players that I believe will provide us with the best chances to win the African Indoor Cup.” Shared Lennie Botha. “We also want to thank SPAR for trusting in our process and supporting our team the way they have!”

The tournament will see South Africa, Namibia and Botswana compete to earn the right to represent Africa at the 2021 Indoor Hockey World Cup in Belgium.

SPAR South Africa Squad – African Indoor Cup 2021

Charlize Swanepoel

Mpumalanga

Cheneal Raubenheimer

Eastern Province

Cindy Hack

SPAR KZN Raiders

Celia Seerane

Northern Blues

Daniela de Oliviera

SPAR KZN Raiders

Edith Molikoe

Northern Blues

Jamie Southgate

Western Province

Jessica O’Connor

SPAR KZN Raiders

Kelly Reed

SPAR KZN Raiders

Robyn Johnson

Southern Gauteng

Tegan Fourie

SPAR KZN Raiders

Zimi Shange

SPAR KZN Raiders

 

 

The SA Hockey Association have announced the SPAR South Africa Womens Indoor Hockey Side and the South African Mens Indoor Hockey side today. These squads will attend camps and will be used to select the final African Qualifier side later this year. The African Indoor Hockey Cup of Nations will take place in South Africa this year with the current date under review due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

The squads were selected based on performances at the recently completed Indoor Hockey IPT in Kwazulu Natal. 

In the space of 12 months the SPAR South African women’s team have drawn a series with the world number five, beaten the world number 7 twice and now shared a series away from home with the World number 6. This result comes on the back of a superb and swashbuckling performance in a 3-1 win in the final test match of the series.

It wasn’t all easy going for the African’s who found themselves trailing to a Monika Polewczak goal in the 12th minute but managed to restore parity when Edith Molikoe scored her first of the series just three minutes later. SPAR South Africa then took the lead in the third quarter when Edith’s fellow 19-year-old Kayla de Waal added to her collection of International Indoor Hockey goals.

With Poland desperately trying to get the goal that would seal the series the South Africans were resolute in defence with Kara Botes, Jamie Southgate, Jess O’Connor and Jess Lardant being incredibly impressive throughout the game. With that defensive stability the stage was set for one more goal for the South Africans. The goal came from the captain and it was a milestone goal. The goal for Hack was her 100th International Indoor Hockey in just her 105th test match.

The final score was a 3-1 win for the South Africans meaning that the series was shared and the 16th ranked South Africans added another remarkable feather into their cap.

Cindy Hack was awarded the South African MVP while Kara Botes, Cindy Hack, Kayla de Waal and Robyn Johnson all scored two goals in the series for the South Africans.

It was a memorable series for the South Africans with Jess O’Connor and Lennie Botha reaching their 100th caps, a shared series and magic moments. Special thanks to Tayla Sportswear for the kit and of course to SPAR who have made everything possible for the South African Women’s Indoor Hockey team over the past 7 years.

The South Africans will now look towards the African Cup scheduled to take place around June this year with a likely home series to take place before that. All eyes will soon start switching to FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2021.

SPAR South Africa vs. Poland Indoor Hockey Series

1st Test – 9 January – Poland 2-0 SPAR South Africa
2nd Test – 10 January – Poland 1-1 SPAR South Africa
3rd Test – 10 January – Poland 4-3 SPAR South Africa
4th Test – 11 January – Poland 1-3 SPAR South Africa
5th Test – 12 January – Poland 1-3 SPAR South Africa

 

The fourth test of the Indoor Hockey Test series between Poland and South Africa moved to Poznan in front of a packed crowd as the hosts looked to seal the series. SPAR South Africa were looking to keep the series alive ahead of the final test in Rogowo on Sunday.

The South Africans had showed improvements in the second and third test against a country they have never beaten before but were left to rue missed opportunities. Today the Africans were determined to take the opportunity to make a statement for the world of indoor hockey to pay attention to.

The game was live streamed, the only match of the series, so with the thought of their friends, fans and family watching at home the South Africans started with the intensity that makes them dangerous. Amy Greaves effected a turnover and stormed forward, she fed the ball to Cindy Hack who found Robyn Johnson open in the D. Johnson picked up the ball with her back to goal had a lot to do, but her turn and space creation gave her the opportunity which she buried for her 20th International Indoor goal.

South Africa did not slow down and got the second that their dominance deserved on the break of the interval. South Africa pressured the Polish defence, who probably should have done better, and when the ball popped out in the D, Cindy Hack was never gonna miss. 2-0.

Oriana Bratkowska breathed life back into the Polish challenge with a goal in the 16th minute when she converted from a penalty corner. But that was the last of the scoring until the final quarter.

With Poland pushing for an equaliser the SPAR South Africa Women produced the best play of the game. Jess Lardant played the textbook 1-2 with her captain Cindy Hack before producing a sublime square ball for Kayla de Wall to finish and keep the series alive.

The series headed to Rogowo for the final game on Sunday with Poland leading 2-1.

SPAR South Africa vs. Poland Indoor Hockey Series (Times are in Poland)

1st Test – 9 January – Poland 2-0 SPAR South Africa
2nd Test – 10 January – Poland 1-1 SPAR South Africa
3rd Test – 10 January – Poland 4-3 SPAR South Africa
4th Test – 11 January – Poland 1-3 SPAR South Africa
5th Test – 12 January – 15:00

 

 

The third test between Poland and SPAR South Africa took place in Rogowa last night. Poland led the five-match series 1-0 after two games and were up against a fired up South African side dressed in Pink for the occasion.

In a combined initiative between SPAR and the South African Women’s Indoor Hockey team, the team will wear pink on certain fixtures in standing up for No Violence against Women and Children. This was started in the home series against Ireland in a match South Africa won 6-2. SPAR have also pledged that each time the team wears the pink kit in a series they will sponsor an amount of R4000 as well as R100 per goal scored to the charity supported by the SA Women’s Indoor Hockey team. For last nights game the team chose the Open-Door Crisis Care Centre

The Open-Door Crisis Care Centre (The Open Door) is a non-profit organization established by Thora Mansfield in 1997 at the request of the local South African Police, to assist women and children who were victims of rape and domestic violence.  Today they are regarded as a lead organisation in the country, lobbying for better service provision for victims of all forms of crime both in our homes, communities and in the workplace.  From small beginnings their “one stop crisis care centre” has reached over 400 000 men, women and children through direct and indirect services.  

South Africa opened the game in incredible fighting mood and found themselves 2-0 up with Kara Botes and Amy Greaves giving the visitors a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Unfortunately, the hosts fought back with Amelia Katerla pegging the Africans back before goal-scoring machine Paulina Reder made it 2-2 at the half time interval.

The third quarter saw a lot of action but mostly from the umpires as four green cards and one yellow were shared between the two sides, but no goals were scored setting up a frenetic final quarter. The SPAR South Africa ladies must have thought they had done enough to win it when Kara Botes scored with three minutes remaining, but Poland showed their pedigree with Reder equalising from an error before with less than 15 seconds on the clock Magdalena Zagajska stole the victory for the Europeans.

Although the result will be disappointing the South Africans have clearly shown that the gap between the European Elite of the Indoor Hockey game and themselves is as small as it has ever been.

SPAR South Africa vs. Poland Indoor Hockey Series (Times are in Poland)

1st Test – 9 January – Poland 2-0 SPAR South Africa
2nd Test – 10 January – Poland 1-1 SPAR South Africa
3rd Test – 10 January – Poland 4-3 SPAR South Africa
4th Test – 11 January – 18:00
5th Test – 12 January – 15:00

 

The SPAR South African side took on the Polish Indoor Hockey team for the second test in Rogowo this morning. The game marked the 100th cap for Jessica O’Connor joining her skipper in the centurion club. Incredibly O’Connor has played every single test match since her debut against Namibia on 11 April 2014, a superb statement to her fitness. Remarkably the match also marked coach Lennie Botha’s 100th in charge of the SPAR South Africa women’s side. A superb achievement for both Botha and O’Connor.

For much of those 100 test matches, Botha’s SPAR South Africa could be categorized as built around a solid defence. Conceding only 185 goals across 100 test matches. One of the centre pieces to that defensive stability is the superb defensive work of Jess O’Connor. Their 100th test match would be highlighting the same.

A tactical arm wrestle finally gave its first inches in the 11th minute when Robyn Johnson converted a wonderful team effort that went through almost every player on the field. The South Africans have shown countless times in the past 24 months that the most dangerous time on a field is just after a goal as they regularly give the opponents the double punch. But today while the echoes of their celebration were still reverberating in the venue Poland pulled one back once again through the impressive Paulina Reeder.

Although the South Africans were denied a penalty stroke somewhat contentiously, the game ended in a 1—1 draw with the visitors incredibly impressive. Just 24 hours after they had been defeated 2-0 South Africa were unlucky to only draw. Something that sits well with the team.

Captain Cindy Hack paid tribute to Botha and O’Connor: “It’s a wonderful achievement for both Jessica and Lennie and we are delighted that we could give them the performance that their milestone deserved. We came here with the goal of competing with one of the best indoor hockey nations in the world and we are doing that exactly!”

SPAR South Africa vs. Poland Indoor Hockey Series (Times are in Poland)

1st Test – 9 January – Poland 2-0 SPAR South Africa
2nd Test – 10 January – Poland 1-1 SPAR South Africa
3rd Test – 10 January – 19:00
4th Test – 11 January – 18:00
5th Test – 12 January – 15:00

 

The positivity around the SPAR South Africa side is so high right now that as the 16th ranked nation in the world travelled to play the World Number 6 side in their own back yard expectation was high. The South Africans completed a fantastic 2019 winning 22 of 28 test matches including series victories against Ireland and Switzerland and sharing a series with the Czech Republic side in Prague.

Poland finished third at the 2014 Euro Hockey Indoor Championship as well as losing to eventual champions Germany in the 2018 Indoor World Cup Quarter-Final. They are using the series to prepare for their upcoming EuroHockey Indoor Championship in Croatia taking place at the end of the month.

This was the first meeting between the two nations since Poland’s 5-1 win against SPAR South Africa at the 2015 Indoor Hockey World Cup. Only four players from the South African side that day are in the current squad including captain Cindy Hack, Jess O’Connor, Kara Botes and Amy Greaves (although Greaves did not play that game). Poland themselves also featured four players from that encounter with Dominika Nowicka, Amelia Katara, Anna Gabara and Paula Slawinska all reprising their roles from 2015.

Its no surprise that the encounter was a tactically tense affair, with the South Africans having developed remarkably since that game where they 2-0 down at half time. This time round it was 0-0 at the break with both teams having opportunities to break the scoring, but with defensive brilliance and rusty finishing both teams missed out. Poland were a little bit brighter coming off a series victory against Belarus last week, and ultimately, they struck first blood through 21-year-old Paulina Reder. She later, in the final 30 seconds of the game, made it 2-0 to add a little bit of gloss onto a score line.

Coach Lennie Botha had been glowing in his praise of the hosts in terms of the hospitability and the venue and was equally humble in defeat. “We had a lot of chances, but this is a great developmental opportunity for the youngsters. We showed tonight that we can compete, and we aim to do that consistently over the course of the series. We need to remove the errors and have a bit more composure. I’m proud of the effort of the team and of course supremely grateful to SPAR for supporting us in doing this.”

SPAR South Africa vs. Poland Indoor Hockey Series (Times are in Poland)

1st Test – 9 January – Poland 2-0 SPAR South Africa
2nd Test – 10 January – 11:00
3rd Test – 10 January – 19:00
4th Test – 11 January – 18:00
5th Test – 12 January – 15:00