Building momentum key to SA’s success

2015-03-07 00:00

THE SA men’s hockey team are amped for back-to-back Greenfields FIH World League Test matches at Hartleyvale in Cape Town over the weekend.

Head coach Fabian Gregory said yesterday afternoon that building momentum was key in Pool A matches against turnover specialists China at 4.15 pm today and skilful Egypt same time tomorrow. “China like to get numbers behind the ball, then counter-attack at pace on turnover ball.”

Indeed, maintaining ball possession and denying the Chinese and Egyptians on the counter is going to determine whether it’s a good, or long, weekend at the office for the men in green and gold. SA and Egypt — Africa’s heavyweight teams — have a long history of fiery, bad-tempered, massively physical clashes coupled with high drama and contentious umpiring decisions. To this end, the SA head coach said it was imperative that captain Austin Smith’s lads did not lose players to the sin bin or worse.

“We will seek to impose ourselves on Egypt from the start, but as against China there has to be a balance between numbers on attack and in defence; we need to ensure that our counter-defence is sound.”

The coach is also calling on his penalty corner strike-force to capitalise on the set-piece opportunities that come SA’s way.

“We must convert those chances.”

Gregory said the selectors had picked an in-form group of players and the 6.30 pm final Pool A clash against Switzerland on Tuesday would require SA to pressure the skilled Swiss into making mistakes at the outset.

“The format of the tournament is such that all eight nations will qualify for the quarter-finals next Thursday, so you could make the semis next Saturday by winning just one game, but we want to build towards the quarters by putting in three solid performances in the Pool stage — and that should stand us in good stead for the knockout phase of the event.”

Gregory is hoping the SA team’s fans and the wider Cape Town public will pour into Hartleyvale to support the 18 men in green and gold this weekend, as “player number 19” could be the trump card in pulling the home nation through when the going gets tough.

The semi-finals and final are next weekend.

All the fixtures can be found at the link http://events.fih.ch/new/competition/417

SA Team

Goalkeepers: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders)

Defenders: Daniel Bell, Rhett Halkett, Austin Smith (capt), Dylan Swanepoel (all Western Province), Matt Guise-Brown (Northern Blues), Robin Jones (Eastern Province)

Midfielders: Dan Sibbald, Tim Drummond (both KZN Coastal Raiders), Clint Panther, Jethro Eustice (both Southern Gauteng)

Strikers: Natius Malgraff (Eastern Province), Keenan Horne, Shannon Boucher, Pierre de Voux (all Western Province), Taine Paton (KZN Coastal Raiders), Julian Hykes (Southern Gauteng)

Weekend Matches

Today

Pool B: 9:30 am - France v Azerbaijan; 11.45 am - Czech Republic v Belarus

Pool A: 2 pm - Egypt v Switzerland; 4.15 pm - South Africa v China

Tomorrow

Pool B: 9.30 am - Azerbaijan v Belarus; 11.45 am - Czech Republic v France

Pool A: 2 pm - China v Switzerland; 4.15 pm - Egypt v South Africa.

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
Traffic
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.