Almost plain sailing for SA U21 hockey sides in Egypt

2008-07-13 00:00

THE South Africa U21 men’s and women’s hockey teams eased through the opening matches in the Junior World Cup Africa zone qualifier in Cairo over the weekend.

Both tournaments entail a round-robin phase in which the countries play each other once with the top two qualifying for the finals this Saturday.

So far, the women have beaten Egypt 5-0 and Zimbabwe 9-0 while the men smashed Libya 17-0.

However, it has not all been plain sailing for the South Africans.

Graham Bennetts, the SA U21 men’s manager, had to take Western Province striker Kyle Lottering to hospital with a fractured cheek after a freak incident.

“Kyle was hit by a hard shot from a team-mate,” Bennetts told The Witness. “Unfortunately Kyle looks like a boxer after a bad day at the office and we had to send him home for surgery.”

Bennetts said there were a number of frustrations that the team had to deal with.

“Buses have been late, and at the field, practices either don’t start on time or practice times have been changed at the last minute. Much to the annoyance of the staff, we lifted the hoses — they water the Astro with fire hoses — and moved them off ourselves as the time for the start of our scheduled practice had come and gone.

We also ended practice on our terms because of the late start. Standing our ground and smiling through adversity has become our policy.”

Bennetts is also fortunate that he had learned some Arabic during a two-year stint as a teacher in Abu Dhabi. “The vocabulary and so on … has pretty much returned and has proved invaluable,” he said.

“The Astro we are playing the Africa zone qualifiers on is very patchy. The turf has got lots of dodgy bits, so we are thankful for medical cover.”

Bennetts said the heat was almost overwhelming. “We have bought tons of liquids, so the players are coping, but they quickly realised after day one how much they need to take in.”

Bennetts said the Egyptian military was prominent in running the game, which had helped at times with airport formalities and similar potentially time-consuming administrative chores.

Off the field there has still been time for the SA U21 men and women to take in some of the tourist sites.

“We will be doing the pyramids and the museum and then a trip down the Nile on the rest days,” Bennetts said.

“The players know that it’s hockey first, though, with our men and women hoping to qualify as Africa’s representatives for the Junior World Cup finals — in Malaysia/Singapore and Boston in the U.S. respectively — so they have been very well behaved.”

RESULTS

SA U21 women: vs Egypt 5-0 (Sulette Damons 2, Chrizelle Andries, Heloise Labuschagne, Lorene Irvine); vs Zimbabwe 9-0.

SA U21 men: vs Libya 17-0 (Matt Fairweather 4, Tariq Ebrahim 4, Tim Drummond 3, Duzo Khanyile 2, Matt Botha, Taine Paton, Ant Vervoort, Dalan Philips); vs Sudan – result not available at time of going to press.

Remaining men’s matches: vs Ghana (today); vs Egypt (tomorrow); vs Kenya (Thursday); finals — (Saturday).

At the time of going to press there was no further information available on the forthcoming women’s programme.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.