The waiting is over and the months of preparation are done! The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team’s quest to win the weeklong Olympic Qualifier Tournament in New Delhi, India kicks off against Poland early on Saturday.
ÔÇ£It’s a big game for us, we are looking for three points,ÔÇØ said SA head coach Giles Bonnet at the tournament hotel Friday.
Poland have drawn with Canada in the build-up. No one in the SA camp is expecting an easy game.
Bonnet said the style of play would stay the same for the SA team. ÔÇ£We will do all the normal things against Poland tomorrow and consistency over 70 minutes is important.
ÔÇ£The girls are well rested, in a good space in the head, which is important. The training has gone well, the team meetings have been thorough, there’s a lot of energy in the group.ÔÇØ
Indeed, the team look remarkably relaxed, considering what is at stake and with team physio Carla Lodewijks having reported a clean bill of health, the outlook could not be better for the girls in green and gold.
The six teams in Delhi initially play in a round-robin or league, with the top two facing off in the final next Saturday.
The prize? A ticket to the London 2012 Olympic Games that take place in July and August.
Saturday: vs Poland 10 am (6.30am SA time)
Sunday: vs Ukraine 2 pm (10.30am SA time)
Tuesday: vs Italy 12 pm (8.30am SA time).
Wednesday: vs India 6 pm (2.30pm SA time).
Friday: vs Canada 2 pm (10.30am SA time).
Saturday: gold medal match 6 pm (2.30pm SA time).
INVESTEC SA TEAM
Mariette Rix, Kate Woods, Shelley Russell, Jade Mayne, Lauren Penny, Kathleen Taylor, Tarryn Bright (all WP); Marsha Marescia (capt), Lisa Deetlefs, Bernadette Coston, Pietie Coetzee (all Southern Gauteng); Sanani Mangisa, Dirkie Chamberlain, Nicolene Terblanche, Kim Hubach (all Northern Blues), Lesle-Ann George (Free State); Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders); Sulette Damons (North West). Head coach: Giles Bonnet. Assistant coach: Fabian Gregory. Trainer: Phil Estourgie. Goalkeeper coach: Sheldon Rostron. Video analyst: Adrian Carolan. Physio: Carla Lodewijks.┬á Manager: Les Galloway.