Hockey men face a hot and humid Malaysian test

2013-06-27 00:00

INCREDIBLY humid conditions, a worryingly high level of air pollution and Pool B matches against world number four England, world number five Pakistan and world number 13 Malaysia, await the world’s 12th-ranked South Africa in the World League semi-final men’s hockey tournament in Johor, Malaysia, from Saturday to next Sunday.

Smoke from large forest fires in Indonesia has been drifting east and negatively affecting the air quality in Malaysia. SA team manager Martin van Staden said the build-up is going very well. “The team [are] acclimatising nicely. The mood is super-high after the recent 3-0 Malaysia series’ win, and there are no injury concerns. The boys are looking fit and strong.

“Although there is a concern with the current smoke and pollution, which is being monitored closely, we do not believe it will affect the tournament. There has been some rain, which has helped the situation.”

SA captain Austin Smith, who is a two-time World All Star selection, said from the team hotel yesterday that the team had settled in well. “The air pollution is fine, the temperature is hot and very humid, and it rains most days, it seems.”

SA play practice matches against Pool A teams Japan and Argentina in the build-up to Saturday’s opening Pool B match against world number four England at 3 pm (SA time), to be televised live on SuperSport 7.

“The pitch is flat but very slow. We need to work hard to create any real ball pace around the field,” said Smith. “But it’s a nice hotel, everyone’s in good spirits and excited to get going. Jet lag is tough, yet we’re getting through it.”

Coach Charlie Pereira said the team have had two training sessions on different pitches. “The A field is housed in a beautiful stadium and the surface is great. We also trained on the B pitch, which was not as good. Players found it sticky and struggled to slap the ball with purpose.”

There are many challenges, but the SA team have been through many trials and tribulations in recent years, and have shown that they have the character to withstand whatever is thrown at them.


Goalkeepers: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders).

Defenders: Austin Smith (capt, Western Province), Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues), Rhett Halkett (vice-capt, WP), Lance Louw (SG), Jethro Eustice (SG).

Midfielders: Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KCR), Tim Drummond (KCR), Nick Gonsalves (SG), Taine Paton (KCR).

Strikers: Julian Hykes (SG), Craig Haley (WP), Pierre de Voux (WP), Miguel da Graca (SG), Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP).

South Africa’s Pool B fixtures

All matches on SuperSport (all SA time)

Saturday, SA vs England 3 pm

Sunday, SA vs Malaysia 3 pm

July 2, SA vs Pakistan 3 pm.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.