A South African team with a blend of youth and experience will do battle at the World Cup in England.
The reigning African women’s champions, who are sponsored by Private Property, have announced their 18-player squad for the 2018 FIH Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup.
The team qualified for the tournament by virtue of a fifth-place finish at the FIH World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg in June 2017.
The squad features a blend of some superb youngsters coupled with experienced campaigners.
The team will be missing stalwarts, Ilse Davids, who retired recently, and 2016 SA Player of the year, Celia Evans, who misses out through a knee injury.
The team does however retain a core of experienced players to guide the younger players through what will be a challenging tournament. This will be the fourth world cup for Shelley Jones and Dirkie Chamberlain while Lisa-Marie Deetlefs and Sulette Damons will take part in their third. Captain Nicolene Terblanche returns for her second after featuring at The Hague in 2014.
There is a return to the squad for Tarryn Glasby and Lilian du Plessis who missed out on the Commonwealth Games, adding a much-needed threat in front of goal to the explosive talent of Candice Manuel. In defence, the experienced trio of Erin Hunter, Nicole Walraven, and Kara Botes will be joined by the exciting Simone Gouws, who was the Junior Player of the Tournament at the recently completed IPT.
Kristen Paton and Ongi Mali, often spoken of as the future of SA Hockey, will now be a very active part of the present. The team is completed by the Western Province duo Quanita Bobbs and Jade Mayne, who will look to continue their fine form in the green and gold when arriving in London.
South Africa will take part in Group C facing off against Germany (World Ranking – 6th) on 21 July, Spain (11th) on 26 July and Argentina (3rd) on 28 July. Teams that finish first will progress straight to the quarterfinals, teams finishing 2nd or 3rd will move to the playoffs while the fourth-placed team will be eliminated.
Sheldon Rostron, head coach of the South African women, is excited to work with the team: “The group that we have created has a good blend of experience and youth. We have looked at specific skill requirements as well as the players form over the past 12 months. Simone Gouws will add a different dynamic in our defence, which we feel is needed, while the return of Lilian will make us a more threatening attacking team. As much as this is a team for the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup, it is also a team to build for the future of SA Women’s Hockey.”
SA Hockey would like to thank Grays South Africa and Private Property for their continued support of SA Women’s Hockey.
SA Women’s Hockey Team for the 2018 Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup
Player Q&A with Shelley Jones
We caught up with SA Women’s hockey legend, Shelley Jones to get her thoughts on the upcoming tournament.
How do you feel going in to the World Cup?
I am really looking forward to this World Cup and the challenges ahead. We are fortunate to take part in these prestigious tournaments representing the country in Green and Gold. A special mention need to go tour our sponsors and partners involved in making it possible for us to have a program. Thank you, Private Property, for the wonderful support of the National Women’s Hockey team
What do you expect from the tournament?
I have been fortunate to play in 4 World Cups and it is always a prestigious and amazing tournament to be a part of as it’s the best of the best coming together to fight it out.
This year should be a great World Cup to be a part of as England certainly know how to put on events and after their women’s recent Olympic Gold medal from Rio, the interest in the sport, both participation and spectatorship, has grown dramatically.
How has the team prepared for the tournament?
We have recently come back from Commonwealth Games where we played 5 official matches and 3 practice matches against top countries. We got to expose new young players to the world stage which means they will go into the next tournament with necessary experience
We also recently played the annual inter provincial tournament in Durban, which allowed the selectors to make changes and include some new players.
We have all been following a strict fitness, power and gym program where we are submitting test results every week to make sure every player is staying motivated and in the best condition possible.
The SA Women’s World Cup team is scheduled to leave 30 June for a 3-week preparation phase in the Netherlands where we are scheduled to play some international competition in some practice matches. This will be amazing preparation to add final touches and get the team on the same page before the start of the world Cup on the 21st July.
What can supporters look forward to from the team?
We will really be looking to attack and creates some more goal scoring opportunities which we have identified that we can work on after the last tournament. With the addition of 2 more strikers we will be adding some speed and different attacking styles to our offense.
Unfortunately, we are without some crucial players due to injury and retirement but its great to be able to include some younger future players to the mix and give them experience like I had 12 years ago in my first World Cup, to kick start their National career.
Any last words?
This tournament is important for the future of hockey in this country, as we want to remain competing with the big hockey Nations and keep growing the sport on the world stage.
SA Women’s Hockey Team for the 2018 Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup (Name and Province):
Phumelela Mbande - Northern Blues
Marlize van Tonder - Southern Gauteng
Erin Hunter - Southern Gauteng
Kara Botes- Southern Gauteng
Simone Gouws - Free State
Nicole Walraven - Free State
Lisa Deetlefs - Southern Gauteng
Shelley Jones - Kwazulu Natal Raiders
Kristen Paton - Southern Gauteng
Quanita Bobbs - Western Province
Nicolene Terblanche - Northern Blues
Sulette Damons - North West
Candice Manuel - Western Province
Ongi Mali - Eastern Province
Lilian du Plessis - Southern Gauteng
Tarryn Glasby - Western Province
Dirkie Chamberlain - North West
Jade Mayne - Western Province