WCC: South Africa: Women's hockey team back with silver medals |
July 20, 2005
Independent Online, South Africa
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The Spar SA women's hockey team arrived back in the country on Wednesday morning from their successful Champions Challenge campaign in the US.
Having left South Africa with what seemed an ambitious goal of a podium finish at the Virginia Beach tournament, the team managed to return not only with silver medals but an extra air of confidence, having defeated four countries ranked above them on the world standings.
"We knew that a good result in our first game against the US would give us the kick-start we needed for the tournament," explained SA captain Lindsey Carlisle. "And it did just that. The great thing was that every player produced a level of hockey that saw them playing to their full potential," she added, also giving credit to the coaching staff.
"We were solid in defence and that set up a platform for us from which to score and it was nice to see the girls taking those opportunities. I think we surprised a few people there."
The South Africans followed up their 2-1 victory over the US with a 2-0 win over Spain before beating Japan 2-1 and New Zealand 1-0, taking them to the final with a game in hand. But a 0-3 loss to England followed, in the last of their pool games, and then a 0-2 loss to New Zealand in the final.
"We haven't had that much experience playing in finals and New Zealand have been in and out of the top six in the world so they are much more experienced and played a good game," explained SA coach Jenny King.
"But the more the team gets to play in tournaments like the Champions Challenge, the better they will be in finals like that," she added.
The South Africans' next big target is to win the Africa Nations Cup, taking place in Pretoria at the beginning of October, which they should do with not too much difficulty and so qualify for the World Cup.
But before that, the players will separate into their various provincial sides for next month's interprovincial tournament in Pietermaritzburg.
That's where King will be keeping an eye out for any new promising prospects for her South African side as there will be no opportunity for trials or a squad camp before the Africa Cup of Nations. -
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