Late last night there was uncertainty whether superstar striker Pietie Coetzee would be available for the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team’s crucial Olympic Qualifier match against India at 6 pm (2.30 pm SA time) Wednesday.
The match will be televised live on SuperSport.
SA head coach Giles Bonnet said the world record goalscorer (232 goals in 236 Test matches) was suffering from a viral infection and expressed doubt whether Coetzee would play.
SA dominated against Italy but were held to a 1-1 draw Tuesday. Coetzee did not play.
The Italy result followed South Africa outplaying Poland and Ukraine, which were won 2-1 and 2-0 respectively, Coetzee scoring in both games, including a remarkable goal against Ukraine which the Johannesburg-based sharpshooter described as one she has been dreaming about since she was 11 years old.
With two matches left for each team in the league phase, India and SA are on seven points and SA on seven points. Italy are on five points Ukraine four points. The other teams, Poland and Canada, are out.
Italy and Ukraine are still serious contenders for a berth in the last-chance final. The top two teams after Friday’s remaining league round meet in Saturday’s 4.30 pm (SA time) final, the winner of which earns one of the last remaining berths in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The SA versus India match Wednesday is vital for both teams. Italy play Ukraine at 6.30 am (SA time) in a match that is of also massive importance to both teams, the outcome of which is also of huge significance to India and SA.
Friday, SA should beat Canada; India have a tougher match against Italy while Ukraine should beat Poland.
It’s very difficult to predict who will make the final at this stage. A lot depends on Wednesday’s SA versus India match and Ukraine’s clash with Italy.
Investec SA Olympic Qualifier Tournament Fixtures:Sat 18 Feb SA 2-1 Poland Sun 19 Feb SA 2-0 Ukraine Tue 21 Feb SA 1-1 Italy Wed 22 Feb SA vs India Fri Feb 24 SA vs Canada Final: Sat Feb 25
FIH Road to London Tournament Log:Team Played – Won – Lost – Drawn – Points Ind 3 – 2 – 1 – 0 – 7 RSA 3 – 2 – 1 – 0 – 7 Ita 3 – 1 – 2 – 0 – 5 Ukr 3 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 4 Can 3 – 0 – 1 – 2 – 1 Pol 3 – 0 – 0 – 3 – 0
Investec South Africa Team:Mariette Rix (Western Province) Kate Woods (Western Province) Shelley Russell (Western Province) Jade Mayne (Western Province) Lauren Penny (Western Province) Kathleen Taylor (Western Province) Tarryn Bright (Western Province) Marsha Marescia (capt) (Southern Gauteng) Lisa Deetlefs (Southern Gauteng) Bernadette Coston (Southern Gauteng) Pietie Coetzee (Southern Gauteng) Sanani Mangisa (Northern Blues) Dirkie Chamberlain (Northern Blues) Nicolene Terblanche (Northern Blues) Kim Hubach (Northern Blues) Lesle-Ann George (Free State) Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders) Sulette Damons (North West)