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Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London played host to the opening game of the 2018 FIH Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup as SuperGroup South Africa took on Germany. The two teams took met at the FIH World League Semi-finals in Johannesburg last year and South Africa would have been motivated by that near miss.

But Germany were up for this game and in truth dominated from start to finish with a superb pressing display to limit the South African possession and chances. South Africa were kept in the game by a splendid display from Phumelela Mbande. The Article Clerk goalkeeper continues to get better with each game for the national side and is a joy to watch. As much as she was in form she could not stop Viktoria Huse from giving the European’s the lead.

In the second quarter the South African ladies grew into the game holding a bit more possession even rallying after Nicolene Terblanche was taken from the field for concussion testing after a fierce strike to the head. Fortunately, Nicolene has been given the all clear and confirmed this with me after the game ending.

In the third quarter South Africa would have been disappointed to concede so early in the period after a sensational Phumi Mbande shoulder save almost denied the Germans only for Charlotte Stapenhorst to finish the rebound. South Africa refused to lie down though and a combination of great saving from Mbande and superb last ditch defending particularly by Kara-lee Botes and Erin Hunter (who got stitches in the finger as a reward for her efforts). South Africa then were awarded a penalty corner which Lisa-Marie Deetlefs finished superbly.

Germany were unfazed and while the likes of Kristen Paton and Ongi Mali tried their level best, Germany continued to surge and the pressure eventually told when a review for a penalty corner was awarded a stroke. Huse stepped up to fire it home and make it 3-1, which would remain the score at the completion of the game.

Its back to the drawing board for Rostron and the team as they look to mastermind a victory over Spain on Thursday, which will keep their hopes alive in the tournament.

Day 1 Results:

Germany v South Africa 3-1
England v India 1-1
USA v IRL 1-3
Australia v Japan 3-2

 

It’s been four years since the curtains closed on the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup in Netherlands. South Africa left that tournament with a credible 9th place finish, the best since the 7th place finish in 1998. That team featured a host of experienced players that have subsequently hung up the boots including world record scorer Pietie Coetzee, the superb Marcelle Keet, shot stopper Sanani Mangisa and the likes of Kelly Reed, Kathleen Taylor, Tarryn Bright and of course inspirational skipper Marsha Cox. It was also the last tournament for outgoing coach Gilles Bonnet.

In the four years that have followed new head coach Sheldon Rostron has done a phenomenal job of balancing the budget, the resource limitations and building a new squad ready to take on the now expanded 16 team Hockey Women’s World Cup. This will be South Africa’s sixth appearance and the new format promises a tough challenge where early defeats raise the pressure immediately.

Eight of the 18 players in the squad have played more than 100 games for the National team including Shelley Jones on 273 and Lisa-Marie Deetlefs on 247. Alongside England-based striker Dirkie Chamberlain and the co-captains Sulette Damons and Nicolene Terblanche, this experienced core will be integral to South Africa’s chances of progressing to the knock-out stages in a challenging group.

Here is the FIH look at Group C (Source - http://fih.ch/events/world-cup/world-cup-2018/hockey-world-cup-london-2018-w/news/latest-news/a-peek-at-the-pools/)

Rebuilt and bristling with ambition, Argentina (WR:3) arrive in London with high hopes of a medal. Standing in their way in this pool are three teams that all have the players to provide an upset. Adrian Lock’s Spain (WR:11) have a talented and experienced team that is awash with speedy, aggressive players. Leading the team is Georgina Oliva, who has nearly 200 appearances and is Spain’s creative hub.

South Africa (WR:14) is a team with a point to prove, having missed the 2016 Olympics due to a lack of support from its own National Olympic Committee. The team will be determined to establish themselves back at the top table at a major international and all the more dangerous for that ambition.

And Germany (WR:6) will always be a threat. The team has been on the up recently, with a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics and a glorious gold medal at the Indoor World Cup. Long-serving captain Janne Müller-Wieland and her team would love to be crowned double World Cup champions and they have the balance and experience in their squad to make that happen.

South Africa secured their spot at the World Cup with a fifth-place finish at the FIH World League Semi-Finals, only just falling short in a cracking quarter final with Germany that would have seen them qualify for the World League Finals! They further cemented their status as Africa’s best when they romped to the African Cup title a few months later.

Sulette Damons – co-captain of the SA Hockey side shared her thoughts with me, “We’ve been working on a lot throughout our 4 weeks build up ahead of the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup in London. It’s been great to have the team together again since the commonwealth games. We are excited to get started this weekend, it’s an exciting tournament for hockey as well as women in sport. It is always a privilege playing in the Green and Gold representing your country at a world stage, we are excited to test ourselves against the world's best!”

The waiting is now over and the ladies will be excited to get on the pitch. We will have all the action and reviews of the South African performance on SA Hockey throughout the tournament. In the month of Nelson Mandela’s birthday in his centenary year we wish the girls well and end with this thought from Madiba.

“Sports have the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope, where there was once only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination. Sports is the game of lovers.”

On Thursday the Bryanston Country Club was the venue as new SA Women’s Hockey sponsor, SuperGroup, hosted a fantastic send off for the squad ahead of their departure to the Vitality Women’s Hockey World Cup. The eighteen selected players received their playing kits as well as some words of inspiration from various stakeholders present on the evening.

Peter Mountford, the Chief Executive Officer of SuperGroup, encouraged the players to take their experience of hardships and turn it into victory, to play with heart and to make the country proud. Peter spoke about his pride in linking up with the SA Women’s Hockey team and the belief that the two brands can stand shoulder to shoulder as proudly South African icons.

Luzuko Koti, the Director of Communications and Outreach at Nelson Mandela Foundation, then encouraged the team to summon the spirit of Madiba in the centenary year of his birth. Nelson Mandela was incredibly fond of sport and constantly used it as a vehicle to unite South Africans. We look forward to the South African Women embracing this spirit in London.

Sumaiya Khan, the Chief Operations Officer of the Department of Sport and Recreation, then shared a message highlighting the advancement of women in sport, coming at a time when South Africa has its first ever female Sports Minister in Honorable Minister Thokozile Xasa. And as she poignantly wrapped up to the ladies “You will go out there, you will have fun and you will make our country proud, as you always do!”

Marissa Langeni, the Chief Executive Officer of South African Hockey, as well as Sheldon Rostron, Head coach of the National Ladies team, both shared their appreciation towards the dignitaries and of course to SuperGroup for their fantastic decision to partner up.

With the local part of the preparation now complete, the South African ladies  fly to Holland where they will have a few training sessions and games before relocating to London for the 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup.

South Africa will take part in Group C facing off against Germany (World Ranking – 6th) on 21 July, Spain (11th) on 26 July and Argentina (3rd) on 28 July. Teams that finish first will progress straight to the quarterfinals, teams finishing 2nd or 3rd will move to the playoffs while the fourth-placed team will be eliminated.

South African Squad

Phumelela Mbande, Marlize van Tonder, Erin Hunter, Kara Botes, Simone Gouws, Nicole Walraven, Lisa Deetlefs, Shelley Jones, Kristen Paton, Quanita Bobbs, Nicolene Terblanche, Sulette Damons, Candice Manuel, Ongi Mali, Lilian du Plessis, Tarryn Glasby, Dirkie Chamberlain and Jade Mayne

Super Group, who provide a vast array of international supply chain and fleet management services and operate a vehicle dealer network in South Africa and the United Kingdom, announces its official partnership with one of our nation’s premiere female sports teams, the South African Women’s Hockey team, and is expanding its brand presence in the sports market, which is growing exponentially globally.

Hockey is one of the fastest growing schools sports in the country and has made significant progress in all areas including the announcement of this new sponsorship deal.  There has been  greater gender integration in the way SA Hockey hosts tournaments and events, increasing awareness through broadcast partnerships with SuperSport hosting world class events and attracting the worlds’ best hockey teams to our local shores.

Super Group will be on board to assist the National Women’s team prepare and compete at the Vitality Women’s Hockey World Cup in London from the 28th July to 5th August where our team will look to improve on their 9th place finish at the Hague in 2014. The event is one of the largest Women’s only sporting events that the UK has hosted to date.

Super Group’s sponsorship will be well received by the public and the hockey community as the ever-needed funding is a critical component of the game of hockey. With hockey not being a professional sport in South Africa, the sustainability of the sport is reliant on such partnerships. The growth and participation of hockey around the globe is definitely a source of excitement for Super Group. 

Mr Peter Mountford, the Chief Executive Officer for Super Group explains the value proposition for the alignment as follows: “For Super Group, this sponsorship signifies an opportunity to give back to the South African sports public and support an excellent team whose high International Ranking is unique amongst Competitive Countries who are all full-time professionals.”

“The partnership with Super Group speaks volumes to the character of Hockey in our country, in particular the Women’s game. One of our goals is to drive positive change in Women’s sport through the performance of the national team and having Super Group on board presents an excellent opportunity for this,” says SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni, “We are thrilled to have Super Group on for the next part of this journey!”

The 14th edition of the Women’s World Cup will be broadcast live on SuperSport while the fixtures are available on the SAHA website https://www.sahockey.co.za/

African women champions South Africa have announced their 18-player squad for the 2018 FIH Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup. Sheldon Rostron’s squad, who qualified for the World Cup when they finished fifth at the FIH World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg in June 2017, features a blend of some superb youngsters coupled with experienced campaigners.

One of the notable names missing is Ilse Davids, who announced her retirement recently, while SA Player of the year for 2016, Celia Evans, misses out through a knee injury.

Shelley Jones and Dirkie Chamberlain will be key to South Africa’s approach at the World Cup as they take part in their fourth World Cups. Dynamic duo Lisa-Marie Deetlefs and Sulette Damons will take part in their third, while Nicolene Terblanche returns for her second after featuring at the Hague in 2014.  Their collective experience will be key to a South African side featuring some incredible youngsters.

There is a return to the squad for Tarryn Glasby and Lilian du Plessis (Her second World Cup as well) who missed out on the Commonwealth Games, adding a much-needed threat in front of goal to the explosive talent of Candice Manuel. While the experienced trio of Erin Hunter, Nicole Walraven, and Kara Botes will be joined in defence by the exciting Simone Gouws, who was the Junior Player of the Tournament at the recently completed IPT.

Kristen Paton and Ongi Mali, often spoken of as the future of SA Hockey, will now be a very active part of the present. The team is completed by the Western Province duo Quanita Bobbs and Jade Mayne, who will look to continue their fine form in the green and gold when arriving in London.

South Africa will take part in Group C facing off against Germany (World Ranking – 6th) on 21 July, Spain (11th) on 26 July and Argentina (3rd) on 28 July. Teams that finish first will progress straight to the quarterfinals, teams finishing 2nd or 3rd will move to the playoffs while the fourth-placed team will be eliminated.

Sheldon Rostron, head coach of the South African women, is excited to work with the team: “The group that we have created has a good blend of experience and youth. We have looked at specific skill requirements as well as the players form over the past 12 months. Simone Gouws will add a different dynamic in our defence, which we feel is needed, while the return of Lilian will make us a more threatening attacking team. As much as this is a team for the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup, it is also a team to build for the future of SA Women’s Hockey.”

SA Hockey would like to thank Grays South Africa and Private Property for their continued support of SA Women’s Hockey.

SA Women’s Hockey Team for the 2018 Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup

  Name Province
1 Phumelela Mbande Northern Blues
2 Marlize van Tonder Southern Gauteng
3 Erin Hunter Southern Gauteng
4 Kara Botes Southern Gauteng
5 Simone Gouws Free State
6 Nicole Walraven Free State
7 Lisa Deetlefs Southern Gauteng
8 Shelley Jones Kwazulu Natal Raiders
9 Kristen Paton Southern Gauteng
10 Quanita Bobbs Western Province
11 Nicolene Terblanche Northern Blues
12 Sulette Damons North West
13 Candice Manuel Western Province
14 Ongi Mali Eastern Province
15 Lilian du Plessis Southern Gauteng
16 Tarryn Glasby Western Province
17 Dirkie Chamberlain North West
18 Jade Mayne Western Province

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

After 176 games for the South African Women’s Hockey Team, the diminutive midfielder Illse Davids has decided to hang up her stick and call time on her international career. Having debuted back in 2007 at Kenya in the African Hockey Cup of Nations, the former Wynberg Girls High School student, was a constant on the team sheet under Jenny King, Giles Bonnet and later under Sheldon Rostron. Along her career, Illse Davids represented South Africa at two Commonwealth Games (2014 & 2018), the 2014 FIH Hockey World Cup and the 2012 London Olympics. Of course at that 2012 Olympic Games South Africa finished 10th, but an absolute highlight, both of that tournament and of Illse’s career, was the 7-0 demolition of USA in the Pool B encounter. Another game that stood out for was a 4-0 win over Argentina in Bloemfontein in 2010, the first time South Africa had ever beaten Argentina. The decision to retire came on the back of the calf injury she incurred at the Commonwealth Games in the 1-1 draw against Malaysia, limiting her to just two appearances and ultimately made Illse decide to call it time on her International career.

National co-captain Sulette Damons will look back fondly on the career of Illse Davids: “She’s a true role model on and off the field. Her infectious laugh put a smile on our faces at the toughest of times. Her passion for the game, her knowledge of the game and will to win are what I admire most about Illse. It’s been a massive honour to learn from her and to play alongside her.” Although Illse is still keen to play Provincial hockey, her passion for the game extends further as she is now the hockey manager as well as a coach at Hoër MeisiesSkool Bloemhof in Stellenbosch, currently ranked 14th in the country. So well we may miss Illse on the field, we are grateful that she will be helping breed the next crop of youngsters in Stellenbosch! Marissa Langeni, the CEO of South African Hockey Association, shared her thoughts on Illse’s career: “Illse Davids will certainly be missed. She has been a central part of the national women’s team over the last few years and has inspired many a young girl from all walks of life to achieve greatness. Illse’s passion for the game and South African Hockey has always shone through. On behalf of the Executive Board of SA Hockey as well as the greater hockey family, I would like to thank Illse for her contribution to the national team. We wish her all of the best for the future and look forward to seeing her involved further in the sport that she loves.” 

Photo: Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images Europe

I asked Illse to share a message for the young women of South Africa that hope to one day emulate her. “Never give up on your dreams, I always believed that I would wear the green and gold. Whatever setbacks occurred on my journey, I learned from them and kept going until I achieved what I set out to accomplish!”

SA Hockey would like to thank Illse for the years of service and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

In recent years there have been some incredible fairy-tale victories in sport, where teams have risen against the odds to secure a title. None of these have been more prevalent in world sport than the victory of Leicester City in the Premier League in 2016. Of course, the blueprint for that success was actually written in 1980, when 16 hastily assembled, ill-prepared ladies represented Zimbabwe at the Moscow Olympics. Liz Chase, one of two players with International experience having represented South Africa, was appointed vice-captain as Zimbabwe set about shocking the World with a gold medal. She scored in their opening win against Poland and again in the 2-2 draw with Czechoslovakia. She then set up the final goal in a 4-1 win against Austria to secure Zimbabwe a historic and unlikely gold medal. Dubbed the “Golden Girls” by the media in Zimbabwe, they were met by cheering crowds on their return home and were briefly national celebrities. Liz was born in Mutare, with her high school years being spent at Girls High School in Harare. Her hockey talent was seen early on and she has had an illustrious and distinguished playing career. From the National Schools team in 1966 to National under 21 and to the senior side, there was little that Liz had not accomplished. Liz was a strong running, hard-hitting striker, with a turn of speed, good ball control, and great vision. Her skill on the field was matched by her coaching skills off it and this she took with her to South Africa. She was in charge of the phys ed department at Wits for a number of years until her retirement in 2015. Liz was not just a significant force in Zimbabwean Hockey but also in South African Hockey. In 1976 and 1977 Liz was chosen to represent the Springbok Ladies Hockey team. Liz coached the Southern Gauteng Team in the early 90’s and went on to be a South African National Selector in the mid to late 90’s Liz was the current Chairperson of the South African Players Association. The association is a past player-driven initiative to ensure a network of current and past players of the women’s national team.   As has been said by many SA players Lizzie was the glue that kept the SA Players Association together. Her enthusiasm and passion were exceptional and contagious to all around her. We all owe it to Liz to continue her legacy and keep the SA Players Association active and functioning in the way she set it up. The words of Jo Morley-Jepsen are the most appropriate to sum it up: “Liz was an extraordinarily special lady who had the ability to make everyone feel better about themselves. She is going to be missed terribly by all who have had the privilege to know her. Liz was honest; fair; helpful, kind, passionate, professional and respectful. Her resilience as a human being was so evident in the last few years of her life and particularly the last few days. We, as a hockey community, have lost a true legend and an outstanding ambassador for the sport of hockey. Rest in Peace Dear Lizzie.”

The South African Women’s hockey side today fell short in their quest to qualify for the Semi-Finals of the Commonwealth Games when they were defeated by India on the Gold Coast. South Africa entered the match knowing that only victory would be sufficient.

India, however, set up to frustrate the South Africans and set about sitting off of their African opponents and waiting for the opportunity to counter-attack. The tactic was applied perfectly as the SA ladies found chances hard to come by. Having reached half-time with the scores still level.

The second half saw South Africa try and raise the tempo, but once again that led to openings in the defense and warning signs were evident when Gurjit Kaur cannoned a shot into the crossbar in the 38th minute from a penalty corner.

The warning saw South Africa try and raise the intensity the resolute defense from India frustrated the African champions again and again. At the end of the third quarter, the game was still level and the South Africans knew that they would need to hold out for one more quarter and nick a goal.

But that was thrown into disarray when India got the 1-0 lead. Navneet Kaur led the counter-attack, before passing it onto the Vandana Katariya who was positioned at the top of the circle. Vandana passed the ball to Rani, who made a beautiful turn after receiving the ball, to roll the ball in for the 1-0 lead.

South Africa tried desperately to create chances in the final quarter, but when the Video Review was called for and reversed a late penalty corner for South Africa it was clear that it was not to be South Africa’s day. The game ended in a 1-0 defeat and now South Africa will now play off for 5/6th against Canada.

Final Score
South Africa 0-1 India

Next Game
Friday 13 April – South Africa vs. Canada – 06:00

It was a much win game for the South African women’s hockey team as they came up against their Welsh counterparts. Sheldon Rostron’s team had shown glimpses of quality against Malaysia but were frustrated by their inability to control the game, it was clear that the team set about getting this right against Wales.

South Africa would not underestimate the Welsh who themselves celebrated the result of the tournament when they beat India in their opening game. With the game being Wales’s final group game, a victory for them would put them level with India and England on points and would have seen South Africa eliminated from the medal competition.

In the blistering heat, the game started and it was South Africa who took to the pressure cooker best and managed the possession incredibly well. The chances being created were half chances at best and with a degree of frustration building towards half time it was Candice Manuel who finished off a fine team move with a sliding deflection. The goal and the celebration were reminiscent of the fine performance of Manuel against the USA when she helped SA qualify for the Hockey World Cup.

In the second half, South Africa surged again and again but failed to punish the Welsh who were defending with massive amounts of heart. Time and time again the penalty corner proved ineffective for South Africa, which will be a worry for the coaching staff, but the team kept pushing and Kristen Paton, in particular, was a driving force for this. The youngster has been a hit with the commentators in Australia and rightfully so.

As the game progressed the question changed from if the next goal would come to when it would come. The answer to the question was soundly delivered by Jade Mayne in the third quarter as she finished off after great work by Sulette Damons and Quanita Bobbs. South Africa had the lead that their dominance deserved and they were never going to let it go.

While there will still be concerns about the wastefulness in front of goal, the SA coaching staff will be happy that the fluidity of play has started to click and they are gearing up to bring their biggest performance in the final group game against India tomorrow. A victory for South Africa will secure a spot in the final four and a chance to playoff for the medals.

Final Result
South Africa 2-0 Wales

Next Game
10 April – 11:32 – South Africa vs. India

The South African Hockey Women are currently in Australia at the Commonwealth Games with a goal to try and secure a medal against the odds. If they are going to be successful then they will be looking towards Phumelela Mbande in goals to be a differentiating factor.

The Carter High School product has earned 25 caps since her debut against Chile in 2013 and before she darted off to Australia we had a chat with her about all things hockey

There seems no more obvious place to start than to ask, why goalkeeper?

I initially started playing goalkeeper because no one else wanted to play there, and I was the newest kid in the school! It didn’t take very long for me to realize that GK was 100% the position I preferred... I find a nice balance of being part of the team while being my own team within the team. I’m a person who finds comfort in order and control, and in clarity and understanding of the task at hand, and I believe being a goalkeeper allows me to tap into that aspect of the game a lot more than playing outfield (we can’t lose if I don’t let them score).

So you dream about one day scoring a goal for your country?

If the German keeper could do it, what in the world could stand in my way?

How are you feeling about your preparation for the Commonwealth Games?

I think that we as the SAW team were very fortunate to have had a 2-week preparation camp in the last 3 weeks before heading off to Australia. After missing out on our first training camp earlier in the year due to a very busy work schedule, I was feeling a bit nervous and uncomfortable. I believe this last bit of preparation combined with all the work we’ve done building up to this moment has really put us all in a good position and we’re going in with confidence

You already have a great hockey CV at such a young age, what has been the highlight of your hockey career so far?

This one’s easy, being part of #teammzansi for Gold Coast 2018.

The SA Women’s Hockey team strikes the general public as a team who have a lot of fun, who is the biggest prankster or joker in the team?

Nicole La Fleur! She gives me surprise hugs all the time!

You are almost a Chartered Accountant as well, how do you manage the work-life balance?

I'm still busy with my 3 years of articles to try and qualify as a CA. I have been fortunate enough that my employer, PWC, has done their best to ensure that I'm given enough time off in order to attend my national hockey camps and tours, for which I am very grateful! That, combined with the coaching and management’s staff’s patience, understanding and assistance has been paramount to the functionality of my two worlds. The team has also been very supportive, knowing that we all have our struggles in trying to be as professional as possible while still maintaining careers outside of Hockey. Balancing the two comes with many challenges, but I am doing what I love which makes it more than just okay.

You have now played in both of the PHL tournaments, what have your PHL experiences been?

I absolutely loved the first PHL, nothing will ever beat a gold medal finish in the inaugural edition of the tournament. I think PHL has brought a lovely dynamic to South African hockey. It provides a unique opportunity for young players to play with more experienced and even national players, and it also challenges the more senior players who have youngsters looking up to them to ensure they set the standard and keep pushing boundaries. The equal distribution of talent across the teams makes for a very unpredictable tournament outcome: PHL 2017 - Case in point (still a sore topic).

There are many young talented players coming through, which young South African hockey player excites you the most?

Without a doubt, Ongeziwe Mali! She’s a great finisher and a genuine threat in the circle. If she carries on the way she’s headed, I think we will see some very exciting things from her in the future!

Who is your hockey hero?

Marsha Cox. Not only for her on field hockey achievements, but for the manner in which she captained and lead the team and supported me as a young player in the team.

You can continue to support the rise of Phumz by following her on social media @phumz_24 on Twitter and @Phumz024 on Instagram.

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