Well-travelled Giles Bonnet named head coach for SA women’s hockey

2010-05-18 00:00

AFTER much speculation in hockey circles, the South African Hockey Association (Saha) named the new head coach of the national women’s team yesterday.

Michaelhouse product Giles Bonnet (45) is added to the KZN Inland connection with the news that recent GHS schoolgirl Celia Evans has been picked for the SA senior team for the first time and Epworth product Sanani Mangisa makes a return to the national side.

Saha president Dave Car told The Witness that Bonnet’s appointment came after an extensive process that involved discussions with a number of candidates.

“Giles’s hockey CV speaks for itself, and with his South African background and international experience, it is anticipated that he will take the national women’s team to the next level,” Carr said.

The Saha president said that initially Bonnet will commute from his home in Europe.

Bonnet’s first task is to take captain Marsha Marescia’s national team to Beijing from May 28 to June 18, where, besides an intensive training camp, they will also play 12 Test matches against Olympic Games finalists China.

A former KZN and South Africa men’s captain and coach, Bonnet takes over from Jenny King. He is an FIH Grade 1 coach with 25 years’ experience in international hockey, 10 years as a player for SA and 15 years as a coach. In addition to international experience in South Africa, Belgium, Holland and China, he has also coached men and women’s top club teams in arguably the toughest national club premier league in the world, the Dutch Hoofdklasse, for se­ven years, and was manager of the Amsterdam Hockey Academy for three years.

He coached the Belgium men’s team for seven years, improving their world ranking, and worked extensively with the Belgium Olympic Committee to take the sport in that country from amateur to semi-professional status.

Bonnet was the assistant coach of the Chinese men’s team in the 12 months leading to their participation in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In this time he also worked with the Chinese women’s team, who were silver medallists in Beijing.

The former Hillcrest and Durban resident will be employed on a project-based system due to the financial constraints South African hockey is experiencing.

Bonnet will also be tasked with using a number of trainers on the various tours and camps in order to improve the general standard of hockey within the regions of South Africa.

SA TEAM

Cindy Botha, Kelly Madsen (KZN Coastal); Kathleen Taylor, Tarryn Bright, Philippa Rabey, Hanli Hattingh, Farah Fredericks (Western Province); Lisa Deetlefs (vice-capt), Julia Cass, Marsha Marescia (capt), Roxanne Turner, Tsoanelo Pholo (Southern Gauteng); Kim Hubach, Sanani Mangisa, Dirkie Chamberlain (Northern Gauteng); Celia Evans (North West); Lesle-Ann George (Free State, vice-capt); Marcelle Keet (Border-Amathole).

Team management: Giles Bonnet (head coach); Fabian Gregory, Wayne Denne (trainers); Kokkie Sieling (mana­ger).

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