SA Select coach Renfred Dazel on Thursday made six changes to his squad for the Hong Kong Invitational on 7-8 April, with senior players Zenay Jordaan, Marithy Pienaar and Jacqueline Kriel back in action among a few new faces.
Jordaan and Pienaar missed the Las Vegas Invitational early in March due to thumb and leg injuries respectively, while Kriel was rested, and they will add leadership and a new dynamic to the squad. Lorinda Brown has retained the captaincy from the Las Vegas Invitational.
Megan Comley, Christelene Steinhobel and Tyler Botha, meanwhile, are the new faces in the team, with all three players set to feature in their first tournament for the SA Select team.
Phumeza Gadu, Libbie Janse van Rensburg, Fundiswa Plaatjie, Chane Stadler, Rachelle Geldenhuys and Lamla Momoti, meanwhile, drop out of the squad.
Comley, however, has been exposed to international competition as she featured in the international friendly matches between the SA Select Women and Brazil in Stellenbosch in January.
Botha, meanwhile, is one of Comley’s Tuks’ Sevens teammates, while Steinhobel is a seasoned player from the Leopards.
The SA Select Women will face Kenya, Kazakhstan, China and France in the pool stages of the tournament.
‘It is good to welcome back Zenay and Marithy from injury,’ said Dazel. ‘Their leadership and vast skills set will be vital in Hong Kong against tough opposition, and together with Jacqueline, they will assist in guiding the young players in the team.
‘It is equally pleasing to see Megan, Tyler and Christelene make the step-up to this level. We have made a concerted effort to increase our depth in players in the last few months, so it is good to see some of the new players put up their hands.’
Dazel was pleased with the team’s preparation for the tournament and said they hoped to take the lessons learned in the Las Vegas Invitational into this tournament.
‘We have been working hard at training to improve the different aspects of our game since returning from Las Vegas earlier this month, and hopefully we can transfer that onto the field in Hong Kong,’ said Dazel.
‘We did well on attack at times in Las Vegas and we were solid on defence in most of our matches. The key in Hong Kong, however, will be to get the balance right consistently throughout the tournament, and hopefully the desired results will follow.’
The SA Select Women will depart for Hong Kong on Sunday.
SA Select Women’s squad for Hong Kong Invitational:
Lorinda Brown (captain)
SA Select Women pool fixtures at the Hong Kong Invitational (SA kick-off times):
Thursday, 7 April – Kings Park Sports Ground, Kowloon
3am – SA Select vs Kenya
6am – SA Select vs Kazakhstan
10.30am – SA Select vs China
Friday, 8 April – Hong Kong Football Club
3.40am – SA Select vs France