Our South African women’s hockey side will be hoping to use Tuesday’s opening World League Game against Ghana in Cape Town to meet milestones and manufacture some much-needed momentum.
After a two-hour Monday training session in the heat at Hartleyvale, the South Africans’ focus is firmly on day two, which coincides with celebrated captain Marsha Marescia’s 300th Test match, a remarkable milestone, reports Jon Cook.
ÔÇ£It’s the first time that I will be celebrating one of the milestones of my career in South Africa, so I am looking forward to the occasion in front of our home crowd,ÔÇØ Marescia said.
It could also be a memorable match for Investec South Africa’s world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee, who smashed the world mark of 220 set by Russia’s Natella Krasnikova against the USA at the Champions Challenge in Dublin in 2011.
Now on 248 goals in 254 Test matches, an astonishing strike rate, Coetzee wants to get the 250-mark done and dusted. ÔÇ£I’m feeling great and would love to reach 250 against Ghana on Tuesday night in front of the South African crowd and get it over with so I can concentrate on the rest of the matches coming up,ÔÇØ said Coetzee.
Whatever Coetzee’s goalscoring success may be Tuesday, there is still the rest of the World League as well as the Investec Challenge, which starts on February 4 to reach a mark that no women’s hockey player in the 100-year history of the modern game has achieved.
SA head coach Giles Bonnet said the Ghana match would present his side with the opportunity to get into rhythm before the big match against Belgium on Wednesday.
ÔÇ£We want to see all the things we have been training brought into the Ghana game, to play at high speed, bring more quality ball in [to the strike zone] and get our set-piece plays working,ÔÇØ said the former SA men’s captain and coach.
Rank outsiders Ghana are very much an unknown quantity and tournament top seeds SA couldn’t have wished for a more ideal start to the five-country tournament that sees the top two qualify for the World League semi-finals in Europe in June. ÔÇ£This tournament is of huge value and we want to perform,ÔÇØ Bonnet added.
While the matches will not be televised in South Africa, fans can follow World League matches in real time at #World_League1 on Twitter.
Tickets, which can be bought at the gate, cost R20 for adults and R10 for children to each day’s World League matches while a season ticket to the WL tournament is R65.
REST OF MATCHES AT HARTLEYVALE IN CAPE TOWN
Tues, 22 Jan 5pm: Azerbaijan vs Austria
Tues, 22 Jan 7pm: South Africa vs Ghana
Thurs, 24 Jan 5pm: Austria vs Ghana
Thurs, 24 Jan 7pm: South Africa vs Belgium
Sat, 26 Jan 4pm: Belgium vs Ghana
Sat, 26 Jan 6pm: South Africa vs Azerbaijan
Sun, 27 Jan 4pm: Belgium vs Azerbaijan
Sun, 27 Jan 6pm: South Africa vs Austria
Tues, 29 Jan 6pm: South Africa vs Australia
Thurs, 31 Jan 6pm: England vs Australia
Thurs, 31 Jan 8pm: South Africa vs Holland
Saturday, 2 Feb 6pm: Holland vs Australia
Saturday, 2 Feb 8pm: South Africa vs England
Mon, 4 Feb 6pm: Holland vs Australia
Mon, 4 Feb 8pm: South Africa vs England
Tues, 5 Feb 6pm: Holland vs England
Tues, 5 Feb 8pm: South Africa vs Australia
Thurs, 7 Feb 6pm: England vs Australia
Thurs, 7 Feb 8pm: South Africa v s Holland
Sat, 9 Feb 3pm: Semi-Final 1
Sat, 9 Feb 5pm: Semi-Final 2
Sun, 10 Feb 3pm: Bronze Medal Match
Sun, 10 Feb 5pm: Gold Medal Match