SA teams qualify for World Cups

2009-07-21 00:00

THERE was jubilation in SA hockey circles yesterday after the national men’s and women’s teams had won their respective Africa Cup of Nations finals in Accra, Ghana and in turn qualified for the 2010 Hockey World Cups.

Captain Austin Smith’s SA team beat arch-continental rivals Egypt 3-1 in the late final while earlier it was the turn of the Spar South Africa women’s line-up under co-captains Marsha Marescia and Mariette Rix to collect the silverware after demolishing host nation Ghana 5-1, much to the disappointment of a capacity home crowd whose vocal support wasn’t enough to inspire Ghana’s Black Sticks Ladies to an upset win.

The Spar SA goals for head coach Jenny King’s squad came from a Shelley Russell hat-trick with Farah Fredericks and Vida Ryan grabbing the rest.

SA men’s head coach Gregg Clark’s side opened the scoring against Egypt with a Gareth Carr penalty stroke for a 1-0 lead at half-time. Johannesburgers Miguel da Grace and Lloyd Norris-Jones got the other goals for SA.

Set-piece flicker Carr scored nine tournament goals, to win the Africa Cup’s leading scorer award. Carr also won the men’s player of the tournament and the Overall Player of the Tournament prizes. The SA men won the Fair Play and Most Attractive Hockey accolades. Tommy Hammond of Pietermaritzburg won the Top Defender award (although he is usually regarded as a midfielder) while Brenden Botes was voted Top Goalkeeper.

In the Women’s Awards, Marescia was voted Player of the Tournament, Rix top goalkeeper, Shelley Russell the top goalscorer, while Spar SA won another award for Best Hockey.

The Africa continent champions qualify automatically for the 12-country World Cups and the SA men will be off to New Delhi in India next year for the 12th Men’s Hockey World Cup from March 7 to March 20.

The Spar SA women’s team will head for the 12th Women’s Hockey World Cup in Rosario, Argentina from August 30 to September 12 next year.

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