SA men’s hockey team ‘must win’ Africa Cup

2013-09-14 00:00

THE SA men’s hockey team know what’s at stake when they go to Nairobi, Kenya, for the Africa Cup from September 26 to October 5.

The winners qualify as Africa’s representatives at the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands, in May/June next year, and it is the SA men’s team’s last chance to gain entry to the four-yearly showpiece.

The SA men failed to end in the top four placings at the World League Round Three event in Malaysia in June/July. A top-four finish would have granted automatic entry to the World Cup.

Clinton Panther, the Michaelhouse and KZN product, told Weekend Witness yesterday that the SA team have to win it. “Nothing else matters, second place is worth nothing,” said the midfielder.

The Investec South Africa women’s team are in the same boat, having failed to finish in the top four at the Investec World League Semi-Finals tournament in London.

Egypt, SA’s biggest opponents for Africa supremacy in the men’s tournament, have withdrawn due to political unrest. “That’s in our favour, but Africa’s players are usually strong, fast and athletic. Their sides play unorthodox hockey and we are the team to beat,” said Panther, one of a host of players with KZN connections.

Four were schooled under the knowledgeable eye of former Maritzburg College coach Mike Bechet. Geoff Abbott and Matt Guise-Brown return to the team and the other members of College’s “Red Army” are the Paton brothers, Wade and Taine.

SA head coach Charlie Pereira, a chartered accountant who lives in Curry’s Post in the KZN Midlands, told Weekend Witness yesterday that midfielder Tim Drummond won’t be going. The Old Hiltonian hasn’t recovered from an Achilles tendon injury. His replacement is still to be named.

South Africa U21 Junior World Cup player Mohamed Mea, the Westville Boys’ High product, will be making his debut.

Meanwhile, the SA women’s side will be led by New Forrest High product Lenise Marais, with another KZN star, Kelly Madsen of St Mary’s (Kloof) renown, adding to the KZN mix in a side that will be coached by University of KZN director of hockey Fabian Gregory.

Epworth product Sanani Mangisa will be in the goals, but her understudy on recent tours, former Carter High School keeper Phume Mbande, has been left out. Former Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School captain Celia Evans completes the KZN connection in the SA teams.


Men: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Jacque le Roux (Western Province), Andrew Cronje (WP), Rhett Halkett (vice-capt, WP), Matt Guise-Brown (Northern Blues), Jethro Eustice (SG), Dylan Swanepoel (SA U21), Mohamed Mea (SA U21), Austin Smith (capt, WP), Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KZN Raiders), Taine Paton (KZNR), Julian Hykes (SG), Geoff Abbott (KZNR), Pierre de Voux (WP), Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP). The injured Tim Drummond (KZNR) is to be replaced.

Women: Sanani Mangisa (SG), Hanli Hattingh (WP), Lenise Marais (capt, KZNR), Marcelle Keet (Border), Lisa Deetlefs (SG)), Illse Davids (WP), Celia Evans (North West), Shelley Russell (WP), Kaila Flemming (SG), Quanita Bobbs (WP), Sulette Damons (NW), Christine Roos (NB), Jade Mayne (WP), Bernie Coston (SG), Tanya Britz (Free State), Lilian du Plessis (NB), Izelle Lategan (FS), Kelly Madsen (KZNR).

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