Head coach Giles Bonnet was frank in his assessment of the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team’s quality of play in their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Belgium in the first Test at Central Hockey Club in Vygieskraal, Cape Town on Monday evening, but promised a better showing in the second international, which kicks off at 5.30 pm Wednesday at the same venue.
“We made too many ball-handling errors and as a result performed extremely poorly,” said the Amsterdam-based Bonnet, a former SA men’s captain and coach. “As a result we could only make one third of the normal actions that should be made in an International match.
“The team will make a marked improvement in this area in the second Test, which will allow the players to begin to measure their play in other areas on the field.”
There were certainly positives in 20-year-old Tuks student Lilian du Plessis’ debut Test match goal, the impressive performances by young Maties student Quanita Bobbs, and debutant Christine Roos.
Bonnet said SA are preparing for the World League round two event that takes place at Hartleyvale in Cape Town, and have another seven days to reach the levels required for that competition.
The Investec Challenge that starts on February 4 and includes hockey heavyweights in London 2012 Olympic gold medallists and world number one Holland, is also a big tournament on the horizon.
Apart from superstars in captain Marsha Marescia and world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee, as well as former SA Player of the Year Tarryn Bright, SA are also missing two other London 2012 Olympians in Kathleen Taylor and the three-time Olympian Jen Wilson.
Marescia, Coetzee and Bright will return for the World league and Investec Challenge events, but Wilson and Taylor are sitting them out.
“The squad for this period will be selected from the players attending this period. After each quarter a new squad is selected,” said Bonnet. “Therefore neither Jen nor Kath are being considered for these matches as they are not in this squad.”
Head coach Pascal Kina’s Belgium side, who were more fluid than SA on Monday, will be looking to keep their winning momentum and establish an unbeatable 2-0 series lead Wednesday.
Investec SA v Belgium Series Fixtures and Results, in Cape Town: Jan 14: SA 1-2 Belgium Jan 16 at 5.30 pm: SA v Belgium (Central Hockey Club, Vygieskraal) Jan 18 at 6pm: SA v Belgium (Hartleyvale) Jan 19 at 3pm: SA v Belgium (Hartleyvale) Investec SA team for the Belgium Series: Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng) Lisa Deetlefs (Southern Gauteng) Lilian du Plessis (Southern Gauteng) Bernie Coston (Southern Gauteng) Christine Roos (Southern Gauteng) Tanya Britz (Free State) Hanli Hattingh (Western Province) Shelley Russell (Western Province) Lauren Penny (Western Province) Jade Mayne (Western Province) Quanita Bobbs (Western Province) Marcelle Keet (Amathole/Border) Dirkie Chamberlain (Northern Blues) Nicolene Terblanche (Northern Blues) Lenise Marais (captain) (KZN Coastal Raiders) Kelly Madsen (KZN Coastal Raiders) Sulette Damons (North West) Celia Evans (North West) The Belgium Squad: Maureen Beernaert Jill Boon Erica Coppey Aisling D’Hooghe (GK) Lola Danhaive Hélène Delmée Stephanie De Groof Charlotte De Vos (C) Aline Fobe Alix Gerniers Nadine Khouzam (GK) Pauline Leclef Barbara Nelen Anouk Raes Stéphanie Rummens Emilie Sinia Lieselotte Van Lindt Anne-Sophie Van Regemortel Judith Vandermeiren Louise Versavel