By Mark Etheridge
Two replacements have been named in Team South Africa for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.
The replacements come in the women’s hockey team and men’s cycling squad. Mariette Rix stays at home while veteran Pietie Coetzee takes her spot for the trip east.
The change means that coach Giles Bonnet will only have one goalkeeper for the Games but the inclusion of Coetzee gives him added firepower up front.
Explained SA Hockey Association CEO Marissa Langeni. “Rixy has had a long-standing back problem and with three games in quick succession at the recent World Cup in Argentina there was very little time for her back to rehabilitate. So while there’s a slight risk now with only one ‘keeper in Vuyisanani Mangisa we gain in other areas of the game with Pietie being one of the best drag-flickers in the world.”
The cycling switch was enforced due to a training incident involving members of the MTN team near Pretoria. Commonwealth Games rider Jaco Venter was one of the riders who went down after hitting a pothole.
He broke his arm in three places and will be out for some time. He is replaced by Team Medscheme’s Johann Rabie.
Twenty-three year old Rabie is now in his fifth years as a professional rider and as luck would have it, already has first hand experience of Indian conditions. “I was in India three weeks ago to do a race there on the same circuit so at least know what two expect.
“My training has been going well but I’ll try to do some more long rides before Commonwealth as racing in SA is only 100km where Commonwealth is 160km but its still a great privilege to represent SA.”