Gregg Clark, head coach of the South African men’s hockey team, Gregg Clark, has released the names of players who will take part in the national camp and EagleTurf All Star Series in Durban from 24-30 June as the side continue their attempt to qualify for next year’s 2012 Olympic Games.
ÔÇ£A number of players are unavailable due to injury or work commitments, but aside from that the group represents the cream of the country’s talent,ÔÇØ said Clark.
National captain and 2008 Beijing Olympian Austin Smith will return from his Dutch club, Den Bosch, for the event. He boasts 74 Test appearances for South Africa, was part of the 2009 World All Stars team and is the current SA Men’s Player of the Year. ÔÇ£I can’t wait to get back onto the field with the lads. The rivalry will be intense and I hope people come out and support us,ÔÇØ Smith said.
Matches one and four of the EagleTurf All Star Series will be played on June 24 and 29 at Riverside Sports Club in Durban North with 6.30 pm start times. Matches two and three take place on June 27 and 28 at Kearsney College in Hillcrest with the first whistle at 7 pm. The EagleTurf All Star Series will run parallel to the SA Under-18 Boys’ Interprovincial Tournament at Kearsney.
ÔÇ£I trust the Under-18 provincial boys’ teams will be at our games as there is sure to be some quality hockey,ÔÇØ Smith said.
Clark sees the EagleTurf All Star Series as ÔÇ£an effective and interactive way for the SA hockey community to assist their national men’s team reach for the Olympic dreamÔÇØ.
This dream is being supported by EagleTurf, a leader in synthetic sports fields. Derek Field of title sponsors EagleTurf said his company leapt at the opportunity to support the national team. ÔÇ£It’s going to be really special watching the best players in South Africa play on the FIH-approved EagleTurf hockey pitch at Riverside Sports Club,ÔÇØ said Field. ÔÇ£The turf will provide the perfect base for exciting hockey.ÔÇØ
Riverside is the only hockey club in South Africa to boast two International Hockey Federation-approved synthetic surfaces next to one another.
iTrainer.co.za has also come on board to sponsor one of the franchise teams, while the players’ accommodation at the KZN Hockey Academy Lodge is courtesy of the KZN Coastal Hockey Association.
Whilst greatly appreciating the support of EagleTurf, iTrainer and the KZNCHA, the national hockey team is looking to increase their sponsorship pool.
Hugely important tournaments in the Africa Cup of Nations and Champions Challenge lie ahead this year, the outcome of which will have a major bearing on whether the SASCOC deem the SA men’s hockey team to be worthy of inclusion in the elite group of athletes selected to represent Team South Africa at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
All Star Series II is set to take place from 5-9 August during the SA Masters Tournament in Krugersdorp.
The SA men’s hockey team’s business manager, Jack Thonissen, can be contacted at [email protected]ail.com for more information.
SA MEN’S HOCKEY TRAINING CAMP
Goalkeepers: Brendan Botes, Vincent Prior, Jacques le Roux, Gowan Jones.
Defenders: Andrew Cronje, Gareth Carr, Justin Reid-Ross, Lance Louw, Lloyd Madsen, Rhett Halkett, Ashlin┬á Freddy, Ricky West, Matt Fairweather, Francois Pretorius.
Midfielders: Austin Smith, Taine Paton, Tim Drummond, Wade Paton, Jonty Robinson, Clinton Panther, Lungile Tsolekile, Clive Terwin, Mohamed Mea, Nick Gonsalves.
Forwards: Ian Haley, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Marvin Harper, Miguel da Graca, Craig Haley, Geowynne Gamiet, Ryan Fensham, Pierre de Voux, Julian Hykes (possible).