Indoor Hockey begins its brave new world in South Africa as the Swiss Men and Women head to the home of the Rugby World Cup Champions for the first ever series played under the new rules of indoor Hockey. Under the new rules the matches will be four quarters of 10 minutes and that fundamental change throws up a variety of options for coaches.
Of course, it’s also a new world for the South African Indoor men, powered by Tops at SPAR for this series, as it’s the first time they are playing a home test match in almost five years and their first ever home indoor test series. Its also the first test series with David Joshua as the head coach and the country will be keen to see how him and the hordes of debutants go.
The SA Indoor Hockey Men, affectionately known as the BlitzStoks, have not played an indoor match since the 11th place playoff at the 2018 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup and many of those players aren’t involved in this series. The team have announced Jethro Eustice as their captain, and he will be one of the few that have played Switzerland before in a 3-1 defeat at the World Cup.
The Swiss themselves will be preparing for the upcoming European Championship II at home in January with a clear goal on getting back into the top 8 of European Indoor Hockey again, while it will also be an opportunity for inspirational captain Manuel Keller to earn his 50th indoor hockey cap.
Over on the Women’s side there is a lot less uncertainty regarding this fixture. The two teams battled in Switzerland earlier this year with the SPAR South Africans surprising their hosts in a thrilling they 3-1 series victory. Star of the show was Cindy Hack who is closing in on being the first African Indoor Hockey player to reach 100 indoor test caps, and with her charges will be looking to show that series wasn’t a flash in the pan, but rather a statement of how far Lennie Botha’s team have come since the disappointment of the last African Cup.
For SPAR South Africa it will be the first step of a three-pronged summer attack with this series followed by a home series against Ireland before the team heads off to Poland for a test series. All of this is as the team build towards the African Qualifier with the winning team winning Africa’s spot at the 2021 Indoor Hockey World Cup.
The Swiss side will be looking to bounce back from that series defeat to the South Africans and themselves will also have an eye on the Euro Hockey Indoor Championship 2020 in January in Belarus as they look to secure their spot at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup.
The series starts in Durban with a match on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before heading to Cape Town for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All matches are being streamed by Digitv here https://events.digitv.co.za/2019/11/08/indoor-hockey-test-series/.