Training and discussion was the order of the day for the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team Friday, ahead of Saturday’s fourth and final Test against Belgium, which takes place at 3pm at Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium.
With big tournaments to come in the next three weeks, including the Investec Challenge against hockey heavyweights like world number one Holland, SA will be looking for a confidence-boosting win and there is much to play for, despite Belgium having already won the series after 2-1, 2-0 and 2-1 victories earlier this week.
If SA can eliminate the tendency to ball-watch, which takes players out of their channels at times, and improve decision-making on when to play ball on the inside and when to opt for the outside, it will stand them in good stead.
Ploys that may help bring further success would be not to become sucked into Belgium’s tempo and rather try to keep the ball longer, slow the game down and concentrate on cutting out turnovers.
Work inside the attacking third of the field needs more quality in the final pass, which will assist the striker in having more time to put the ball into the back of the net.
The Belgians have a good defence that shepherds the player in possession out onto the sideline, making it difficult to transfer the ball out of that channel, and the South Africans will be aware of that.
Despite the series-losing third Test defeat, there were many positives Thursday, and Amathole/Border’s Marcelle Keet, who didn’t go to the London 2012 Olympics, is looking very good at times, while the KZN Coastal Raiders’ Kelly Madsen put her hand up after injury and took the opposition on, and keeper Sanani Mangisa was simply outstanding.
SA will welcome back captain Marsha Marescia, who is on 299 Test caps, as well as world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee, who is on 248 goals in 250 Tests, for the World League event that starts on Tuesday for the women in green and gold.
The SA superstars will also be in the line-up for the much-anticipated Investec Challenge, which apart from London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists Holland, also features world number four and Olympic bronze medallists England as well as the strong Australian national team, the Hockeyroos.
Investec SA v Belgium Series Fixtures and Results, in Cape Town: Jan 14: SA 1-2 Belgium Jan 16: SA 0-2 Belgium Jan 17: SA 1-2 Belgium Jan 19 at 3pm: SA v Belgium 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