The South Africa men’s hockey team selection panel have named the side that head coach Gregg Clark will be taking to the Africa Cup Olympic Games qualifier tournament in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe from September 1-11.
A blow to the team’s chances has been the forced withdrawal of national captain Austin Smith.
Western Province’s Smith has not been included, due to a broken metacarpal in his hand sustained in the SA Men’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament final against winners KZN Coastal Raiders at Kaspersky Park in Randburg last Saturday.
WP forward Craig Haley (hand injury) and Raiders striker Marvin Harper (work commitments) were not considered either.
The South African team’s┬ácaptain for the Africa Cup, which doubles as the continent’s 2012┬áLondon┬áOlympic Games qualifying tournament, will be announced closer to the event.
There are three new caps in the side, WP goalkeeper Jacques le Roux, Southern Gauteng defender Ricky West and his provincial team-mate and midfielder Clinton Panther.
Convenor of Selectors Mike Bechet said the selection has been largely based on performances at the two EagleTurf All Star Series events that were held recently. The performances at IPT last week were also taken into consideration in the selection process.
Bechet said that choosing the side was not an easy task given the depth of talent that South Africa has at its disposal at present.
SA MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM
Goalkeepers: Brendon Botes (Eastern Province); Jacques le Roux (Western Province).
Defenders: Justin┬á Reid-Ross, Rhett Halkett (both Northern Blues); Lloyd Madsen. Gareth Carr (both KZN Coastal ); Andrew Cronje (Western Province); Lance Louw, Ricky West (both Southern Gauteng).
Midfielders: Wade Paton, Taine Paton, Tim Drummond (all KZN Coastal); Jonty Robinson (Northern Blues); Clinton Panther (Southern Gauteng).
Forwards: Ian Haley, Lloyd Norris-Jones (both Western Province), Julian Hykes (Amathole), Miguel da Graca (Southern Gauteng).