Inland girls in line for a medal

2012-06-26 00:00

THE South Africa U16 Girls’ Interprovincial Tournament takes place at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein from July 9 to 14 and KwaZulu-Natal Schools’ Hockey chairperson Charmaine Koekemoer told The Witness yesterday that she has high hopes for the KZN teams, especially KZN Inland.

“If they play to their potential, KZN Inland should be in contention for a medal. Inland U16 won the bronze medal last season and this year’s side, although a young team, have very good forwards in particular and are a well-organised unit,”said Koekemoer, who is director of sport at Voortrekker.

Two KZN Coastal teams and a KZN Country Districts side will also be participating. KZN Inland and KZN Coastal A play in the A Section, with KZN Country Districts and KZN Coastal B in the B Section. Inland coach Lyndal Robertson’s line-up has a healthy mix of players from eight schools.

“Every match is going to be tough,” Robertson said. “The girls’ preparation has been exceptionally good, having had a lot of match practice against boys’ teams and the Inland U18 girls.”

The team will be captained by the composed Hannah Moxham, with the versatile Natalie Esteves her deputy.

“This is a much younger U16 team than last year, with eight positions having been filled by talented players,” added Robertson. “The strike force is one of the best in a long time with the likes of Danielle Cairns in particular a leading goalscorer.”

Robertson said the midfield complements the attack with Nicola Deenik holding the middle and setting up play for the frontrunners.

Sarah Dixon, Jenna Rattray, Nomzi Zulu and Andrea Davies have the task of organising the defence with the promising Buhle Zondi, playing only her second year in goal, the last line of defence.

Koekemoer is especially excited about the KZN County Districts’ team. “It is the first year that the KZN Country Districts’ team is introduced for the U16 age-group,” she said.

“Players were selected at the provincial tournament from all the districts that are “country” districts. Not included are Umlazi district, which incorporates the Durban schools; Pinetown, which incorporates schools in Kloof, Westville and Pinetown; and uMgungundlovu, which includes schools in Pietermaritzburg.”

Koekemoer said that county districts coaches Dennis Collett of Pongola and Stephanie Ogle from Kokstad indicated that it’s always a challenge when players live so far apart and far from the major hockey centres. Compounding matters, preparation for tournaments are usually during mid-year exam time.

The team trained over a weekend during the school exams and were able to arrange two training camps. Prominent PMB coaches and players such as Craig Hayley, Mario Campbell and Keenen du Toit assisted the team with the technical skills required for playing on artificial surfaces.

“The county districts players in this team hardly ever play on artificial surfaces and it was important for them to practice in PMB to give them the best possible exposure.”

TEAMS

Inland U16: Lyndal Robertson (coach), Nomzi Zulu, Danielle Cairns, Jenna Rattray, Nicola Deenik, Hannah Moxham (capt), Natalie Esteves (vice-capt), Tanya Jasson (manager), Rosie Elliot, Kimberleigh van Jaarsveld, Sarah Dixon, Nompilo Thenjwayo, Kate Armitage, Londeka Dlamini, Jeanne Botha, Andrea Davis, Buhle Zondi, Prudence Qwesha.

KZN Country Districts U16: Dennis Collett (coach), Marie-Lee Visser, Fransesca Baleri, Kaylah Cawood, Sarah Kirk, Erika Prinsloo, Ruvette Schoeman, Elona Mdungwana, Stephanie Ogle (assistant coach), Stephanie O’Reilly, Eleoné Engelbrecht, Ayanda Mkhwanazi, Nelisa Valashiya, Silubonile Mgolombane, Zandri Render, Heidi Truebody.

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