Marsha Marescia, the co-captain of the Investec South African women’s hockey team, is not reading too much into the results of the unofficial internationals leading into the Investec Challenge, which starts at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Monday night.
“Those matches were performance-driven rather than results-driven, whereas from Monday when we play our first Investec Challenge match [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][against England at 8 pm] the outcome will be very important,” said the 302-times capped Marescia, who will lead the team alongside Lenise Marais.
The Investec Challenge will see world number one and London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists The Netherlands, world number four and London 2012 bronze medallists England (as Great Britain), world number six Australia and world number 11 South Africa playing each other in a round-robin format before next Saturday’s semi-finals and next Sunday’s medal matches.
The Netherlands tackle the Australian Hockeyroos at 6pm Monday before SA lock horns with England.
South Africa’s form in the unofficial internationals over the past week has been encouraging. A 4-0 win over Australia and the 3-1 victory over England on Saturday sandwiched the 2-0 defeat to out-and-out Investec Challenge favourites The Netherlands.
“We want to play teams of this calibre,” said SA head coach Giles Bonnet. “The Investec Challenge is a major event and will be very tough, and we need to put pressure on ourselves to do the best we can, so our goals are driven by the pressure we want to put on ourselves as a team.”
England co-captain Laura Unsworth, who is sharing the leadership role with Susie Gilbert, said that the inexperienced players in her team need the pressures of being at an event of this nature.
“The players coming through the ranks need exposure against some of the best teams in the world and this will serve to give them that experience,” said Unsworth.
The Netherlands scored exceptional goals during their 6-1 win over Australia Saturday, although the Hockeyroos were much better in the second half and put the Dutch defence under heavy pressure.
It will take a lot, though, for the Hockeyroos to get a point out of Monday’s 6pm clash.Investec SA team: Sanani Mangisa Lisa Deetlefs Pietie Coetzee Marsha Marescia (co-captain) Bernie Coston Shelley Russell Jade Mayne Quanita Bobbs Tarryn Bright Marcelle Keet Lilian du Plessis Phume Mbande Dirkie Chamberlain Nicolene Terblanche Lenise Marais (co-captain) Kelly Madsen Sulette Damons Celia Evans Investec Challenge fixtures: Mon, 4 Feb 6pm: The Netherlands vs Australia Mon, 4 Feb 8pm: South Africa vs England Tues, 5 Feb 6pm: The Netherlands vs England Tues, 5 Feb 8pm: South Africa vs Australia Thurs, 7 Feb 6pm: England vs Australia Thurs, 7 Feb 8pm: South Africa vs The Netherlands Sat, 9 Feb 2:30pm: Semi-Final 1 Sat, 9 Feb 5pm: Semi-Final 2 Sun, 10 Feb 11:30am: Bronze Medal Match Sun, 10 Feb 2pm: Gold Medal Match [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]