Hockey: Pietie Coetzee fit for Canada clash

2012-02-24 00:00

SUPERSTAR striker Pietie Coetzee, a talismanic figure in the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team, is set to make a return to the starting line-up for today’s 10.30 am match against Canada at the Olympic Qualifier Tournament (OQT) in New Delhi, which will be televised on SuperSport 6 and SuperSport Africa.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, the tournament’s chief medical officer, has been monitoring Coetzee and is satisfied the world record goal-scorer is ready.

Manjra said: “I am comfortable that Pietie has fully recovered from the viral infection.

“A number of players have had mild infections from which they have made quick recoveries, so South Africa will have a full team in very good match condition.”

South Africa’s 5-2 victory over co-favourites India in the fourth round of league action on Wednesday propelled them into Saturday’s 4.30 pm final, where they will tackle either Italy or home team India, who meet in the deciding match at 2.30 pm this afternoon.

India need to win while the Italians need only draw.

“South Africa beat India in all departments, from fitness to physicality, speed, skills and technique,” said Manjra.

Canada have had a disappointing OQT, but finally broke their duck with a 1-0 win over point-less Poland on Wednesday and will be looking to end the closing stages of the tournament on a high.

SA captain Marsha Marescia said: “ One of our goals has always been to remain unbeaten in the tournament and if we can do it, why not.

“We would also like to win more penalty corners to get some momentum going in that department ahead of the final.”

Dirkie Chamberlain, South Africa’s hat-trick hero against India, wants to get back on the goal trail today and is unperturbed whether South Africa meet India or Italy in the final.

“I suppose the Italian defence was a bit tougher in that they got more players behind the ball, which meant less space for us [in the strike zone] while the Indians tended to follow the ball more and were not as disciplined in one-on-one marking,” said the striker.

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