SA hockey tightens selection criteria

2009-02-11 00:00

THE South African Hockey Association (Saha) responded recently to questions from The Witness about a thorny topic.

The governing body have applied the brakes on top players flying in and out of the country to represent their provinces and the national teams without fulfilling certain criteria.

Saha president Dave Carr told The Witness this doesn’t mean there is a blanket ban on players who turn out for overseas clubs from playing for province or country. The idea is that players will no longer be able to choose what national camps and tournaments they return to South Africa for, he added.

“As far as attending camps is concerned, what we are saying is that if a camp is held before a team is selected, then in order to be selected the player must attend the camp. This applies not only to overseas players, but local players as well,” Carr said.

“We want players to be in their provinces for at least four weeks before an inter-provincial tournament; not only to practise with the team, but also to add something to the local league.”

Carr said a Saha provincial president and a national coach have expressed reservations about this issue.

“The executive will look at the comments and have discussions with the relevant parties to sort out any misunderstanding,” Carr said. “I have been told a number of players are unhappy with this ruling. What I find strange is that not one player has contacted me or [vice president] Sheila Brown to discuss their concerns.

“If a player playing internationally or locally has a problem in attending a camp or series, we will take their circumstances into consideration and then make a ruling.”

The Spar SA women’s team suffered a 3-0 series defeat to Germany in Stellenbosch last weekend, while the SA men’s side are gearing up for a tri-series against Russia and Germany in Bloemfontein next month.

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