The 18 players were named Wednesday after the SA men’s squad concluded a training camp in Johannesburg.

SA men’s selection convenor Allistar Fredericks said it was always sad to have to leave players out.

“We have gone for experience in the main so a number of talented youngsters can consider themselves unfortunate in some respects,” said the Atlanta 1996 Olympian.

“We have also been faced with a situation where a number of our players who ply their trade with overseas clubs were not released for contractual reasons.”

The selection head said the most important thing was for the SA men to get over the Africa hurdle - and that would be achieved by retaining the continental title in this Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifier event.

Fredericks believes the selectors have succeeded in putting together a nicely balanced team.

“We have a superb group of forwards, a solid and creative midfield as well as arguably the strongest group of defenders we have had for some time

“I am excited to see what the team can produce.”

The SA men kick off their Africa campaign against Zimbabwe at 7pm Friday on the Randburg Hockey Stadium turf.

The SA women’s opening match is on Saturday. The SA women's team was named a fortnight ago.

Goalkeepers: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng); Jacques le Roux (Western Province)
Defenders: Daniel Bell, Rhett Halkett, Dylan Swanepoel (WP); Matt Guise-Brown (Northern Blues); Jethro Eustice (SG)
Midfielders: Dan Sibbald, Jonty Robinson (KZN Coastal Raiders); Miguel da Graca (SG); Wade Paton, Tim Drummond (WP)
Forwards: Julian Hykes, Brandon Panther (SG); Natius Malgraff (Eastern Province); Richard Pautz (NB); Pierre de Voux, Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP)
Non-travelling reserves
Goalkeeper: Gowan Jones (KZR)
Defenders: Mohammed Mea (KZR), Gareth Heyns (SG)
Midfielders: Charlie Bowren (WP Peninsula), Reza Rosenberg (SG)
Forwards: Stephen Cant (NB), Damian Kimfley (KZN Inland)

Randburg Hockey Stadium
Fri, Oct 23: SA men vs Zimbabwe (7pm)
Sat, Oct 24: SA women vs Nigeria (2.30pm); SA men vs Botswana (4.45pm)
Mon, Oct 26: SA women vs Namibia (7pm)
Tues, Oct 27: SA women vs Zimbabwe (4.45pm); SA men vs Ghana (7pm)
Thurs, Oct 29: SA women vs Kenya (4.45pm); SA men vs Namibia (7pm)
Fri, Oct 30: SA women vs Tanzania (7pm)
Sat, Oct 31: Men’s semi-finals 2pm and 4pm
Sun, Nov 1: SA women vs Ghana (11.30am); Men’s 3rd/4th place (2pm); Men’s Final (4.30pm)

To see the full match schedule go to