JOHANNESBURG - A strong South African team will take on five of the continent's best in their quest to win the Africa Cup for Nations tournament for a record seventh time.
Although the team has already secured a spot at the 2018 Hockey World Cup in London, there are still important world ranking points up for grabs.
“The team selected is a highly competitive group focused on earning vital world ranking points at this premier African hockey event,” said Sheldon Rostron, the SA women’s team head coach.
“We will be looking to carry the momentum created at World League in Johannesburg to grow and win the tournament. Winning tournaments is really important to us and with the support from Private Property we have managed to spend more time with the national squad. We are taking an experienced team to the Africa Cup for Nations. However, we are also exposing a couple of new youngsters to the group, which is always exciting.”
Said Simon Bray, CEO of Private Property: “It is phenomenal to see the growth in support for the SA Women’s hockey team. The recent World League saw great numbers attend the games and 117 039 view the live matches on Super Sport. Their excellent 5th place finish means the team has already earned a spot at the FIH Hockey World cup next year. We wish them well as they head to the Africa Cup for Nations in preparation towards the World Cup in London.”
Two “new caps” join the SAW team. Sylvia van Jaarsveldt of Potchefstroom University was joint top goal scorer at the Premier Hockey League last year playing for Madikwe Rangers.
Kristen Paton is a talented youngster who represented the national U21 team at the Junior World Cup in Chile last year. Izelle Verster and Erin Hunter both return to the national side as does Olympian, Dirkie Chamberlain. Injured Shelley Jones has withdrawn.
The South Africa women’s hockey team: Phumelela Mbande, Nicole La Fleur, Nicolene Terblanche, Celia Evans, Kara Botes, Jessica O’Connor, Erin Hunter, Quanita Bobbs, Stephanie Baxter, Kristen Paton, Ilse Davids, Izelle Verster, Lilian Du Plessis, Candice Manuel, Tarryn Glasby, Sulette Damons, Dirkie Chamberlain, Sylvia van Jaarsveldt