SA men’s hockey side get taste of Beijing

2008-04-21 00:00

A four Nations tournament at the Olympic Hockey Stadium in Beijing beckons for the Resolution South Africa men’s hockey team.

The national selectors have named an 18-man squad for this precursor to the China Olympic Games in August. The tournament will take place from May 18 to 23, just a week after the Men’s IPT ends in Potchefstroom.

Apart from the world’s 13th ranked South Africa, the other countries in the Four Nations are 17th-ranked China, fifth-ranked Korea and third-ranked Netherlands.

The South African team will be using this tournament to gain experience of playing in the humid conditions of Beijing, in preparation for the Olympic Games 12-country tournament at the same venue in August. Hosts China and Korea will also give the SA team the rare opportunity of testing themselves against Asian countries and their very different style of play to the majority of SA’s opponents, who come from Europe.

The two pools for the men’s Olympic tournament have been announced, and are based on the current world rankings of the 12 nations who have qualified. The pools for the 12-country women’s tournament, in which SA have qualified, will be released shortly after the last Olympic qualifier in Victoria, Canada from this Saturday to next Sunday. The match schedule for both the men’s and women’s tournaments will be released in mid-May.

Meanwhile, in KZN Midlands men’s premier league action at the AB Jackson GreenFields Turf, Varsity II beat Collegians II 4-2 after leading 2-1 at the break and in the women’s section Varsity B withdrew from their match, giving GHS Old Girls B a 5-0 walkover.

SA team

Chris Hibbert (EP), Ben Mbana (Northern Gauteng), Paul Blake (WP), Eric Rose-Innes

(WP), Andrew Cronje (WP), Marvin Bam (WP), Shanyl Balwanth (KZN Coastal), Bruce

Jacobs (capt, WP), Austin Smith (WP), Tommy Hammond (KZN Midlands), Clyde Abrahams (EP), Darryn Gallagher (KZN Midlands), Ian Symons (North West), Emile Smith (NG), Geoff Abbott (KZN Coastal), Marvin Harper (KZN Coastal), Thornton McDade (Southern Gauteng), Lungi Tsolekile (NG).

Management: Gregg Clark (coach), Des Yeats (manager), Kurt Cerfontyne (assistant coach), Wayne Hendricks (video/statistician), Gary Simmonds (umpire).

Pools

(World ranking in brackets): Pool A: Germany (1), Spain (4), Korea (5), New Zealand (10), Belgium (12), China 17). Pool B: Australia (2), Netherlands (3), Pakistan (6), Great Britain (8), South Africa (13), Canada (15).

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