Coetzee comeback gives SA hockey side the edge

2010-08-14 00:00

THE big news about the SA women’s hockey team named on Thursday for the BDO FIH World Cup in Argentina is the return of the world’s most celebrated striker/drag-flicker, Pietie Coetzee.

The 31-year-old Coetzee retired from the national team five years ago at the peak of her skills, having netted 193 goals in 190 Test matches — a decision that many a subsequent SA coach and national team came to regret.

However, she kept her hand in at club and provincial level and with full-time coaching at the University of Johannesburg.

Now a recharged Coetzee has rediscovered her appetite for top hockey, having been swamped by the game since making her SA debut as a 16-year-old Oranje schoolgirl, and that’s not good news for South Africa’s opponents.

Her presence in Rosario, Argentina, from August 29 to September 11 should do national head coach Giles Bonnet, Northlands Girls’ High-schooled SA captain Marsha Marescia (Southern Gauteng) and the team no end of good.

There are some surprises, with Roxanne Turner, who has family in Pietermaritzburg, left out, although the super-fit Southerns forward might yet get a look-in as a number of the forwards are included subject to fitness tests. The popular “Roxy” has her SA selection for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi to look forward to later in the year.

It wasn’t surprising that the KZN Coastal Raiders have four players selected for the 18-member squad considering their excellent performance in again reaching the final and again losing narrowly to defending champions Southerns at the Interprovincial Tournament in East London late last month.

Striker Cindy Botha, attacking midfielders Kelly Madsen and Raiders captain Jen Wilson as well as composed left-half Lenise Marais got the nod from SA selection convenor Mickey Gordon, Bonnet and co-selector Jo Morley-Jepson, while North West forward Sulette Damons is justly recognised for her consistency. Damons’s provincial team-mate, Celia Evans, is not included, but the former PMB Girls’ High School and KZN Inland player has years ahead of her.

Maritzburg College old boy Garth Oliver, of Active Physio in PMB, will be minding the team’s aches and pains, which adds another local connection, considering that Amsterdam-based Bonnet went to Michaelhouse, co-trainer Fabian Gregory coaches full-time from Northwood school and national manager Les Galloway is also from Durban.


Cindy Botha (KZN Coastals), Tarryn Bright (WP) Dirkie Chamberlain (Northerns), Pietie Coetzee (SG), Lisa-Marie Deetlefs (SG) Sulette Damons (NW), Lesle-Ann George (FS), Hanlie Hattingh (WP), Kim Hubach (NG), Marcelle Keet (Border-Amathole), Kelly Madsen (KZN Coastals), Marsha Marescia (capt, SG), Lenise Marias (KZN Coastals), Mariette Rix (WP), Shelley Russell (WP), Vida Ryan (WP), Kathleen Taylor (WP), Jen Wilson (KZN Coastals). Team Management — Coach: Giles Bonnet. Trainers: Fabian Gregory and Adrian Carolan. Manager: Les Galloway. Physio: Garth Oliver.

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