Massive boost for SA women’s hockey team

2010-07-26 00:00

THERE was no hiding the beam on new SA women’s hockey coach Giles Bonnet’s face at the interprovincial tournament in East London on Saturday.

The reason: Southern Gauteng star player Pietie Coetzee had just announced her return to the international stage. A short while later she scored a brace in Southerns’ 3-1 victory over unlucky KZN Coastals in the final.

“Five years ago Pietie was a leading player in world hockey,” said SA Hockey Association president Dave Carr in announcing her return.

Carr is a master of understatement, and he is not one to say that Coetzee is one of the greatest women’s players of all time.

“Since Pietie made her SA debut as a 16-year-old Oranje, Bloemfontein schoolgirl, she has scored 190 goals in 194 Test matches, a record that is unsurpassed in the history of the women’s game,” Bonnet said.

Coetzee (31) will also be invaluable in imparting her expertise to some of the country’s top youngsters, and this will enhance the good work being done by Bonnet.

Indeed, it is Bonnet’s appointment that played a big role in Coetzee’s decision, as her provincial team-mates returned from the three-week tour to China with glowing reports of his manner and ambition.

“I am feeling fitter than I have in a long time and the prospect of playing for the national team at the World Cup in Argentina next month, for starters, is really exciting,” Coetzee said.

Bonnet said Springbok fitness consultant at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Derek Coetzee, has been retained to manage her return and ensure there is no breakdown due to “overload”.

Now South Africa has a world-class drag-flicker and striker able to score impossible goals, something they have lacked since Coetzee’s departure. Any team without these weapons has no chance of breaking into the World top six — Bonnet and the team’s burning ambition following the 2012 London Olympics.

A 30-player SA squad was named for two consecutive week-long camps, from Monday in Durban and then Cape Town. The 18-player World Cup team will then be named.

SA squad: Cindy Botha, Taryn Bright, Dirkie Chamberlain, Pietie Coetzee, Ilse Davids, Lisa Deetlefs, Liesel Dorothy, Celia Evans, Farah Fredericks, Lesle-Ann George, Hanlie Hattingh, Kim Hubach, Marcelle Keet, Kelly Madsen, Sanani Mangisa, Tsoanelo Pholo, Pippa Rabey, Kathleen Taylor, Roxanne Turner, Jennifer Wilson, Shelley Russell, Nicolene Terblanche, Jade Mayne, Marsha Marescia, Nicole de Vries, Vida Ryan, Mariette Rix, Lenise Marais, Sulette Damons, Michelle Cremer. Squad members not available: Louise Coertzen, Vidette Ryan, Cindy Brown, Jules Cass.

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