Retired: South Africa star Kate Woods
Retired: South Africa star Kate Woods
(Photo: Action Images)

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team begin a new phase leading to the 2014 Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Holland, and first up it’s the Champions Challenge tournament in Dublin, Ireland from September 25 to October 7 that will feature an SA line-up without six familiar faces who boast a combined caps total of 1 000 Test matches notched on their hockey sticks.

World record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee, fellow triple Olympians Kate Woods and Jen Wilson, double Olympians Mariette Rix and Kathleen Taylor, plus Olympian Dirkie Chamberlain will not be in Dublin.

“While Kate and Rixie have retired, Pietie, Jen, Kath and Dirkie are still in the national set-up,” Investec South Africa head coach Giles Bonnet said Monday. “The team for Champions Challenge is in keeping with the constantly evolving strategy of bringing more players into international hockey.”

Woods and Rix will be missed but Bonnet is confident that Lisa Deetlefs and Sanani Mangisa are ready to step up.

“[Centre back] Kate’s are big shoes to fill and we are looking at Lisa [Deetlefs] to take over this role in the middle. We have faith in Lisa’s ability and resourcefulness to develop in this position,” said Bonnet.

“Sanani takes over as number one goalkeeper from Rixie, who has given her all to the national team. Sanani already has experience in this area, having played as the first keeper at the [2010] Commonwealth Games [in Delhi, India] where the team finished fourth, and we have no doubt that she will relish her new role.”

Post the London 2012 team, who went into the Olympic Games ranked 12th in the world and who finished 10th, thereby upping the SA women’s team’s world ranking to its current 10th place – “the first time since 2003 that South Africa have achieved this ranking” – Bonnet is now also looking at other individuals with the aim to continue broadening his player pool.

The six players for Dublin who weren’t at London 2012 are the experienced yet still young Jade Mayne and Kelly Madsen, as well as teenagers Izelle Lategan and Tanya Britz, who have a few caps between them, plus new caps Lillian du Plessis and Quanita Bobbs - a couple more teens.

Bonnet and his coaching staff are looking to build on the fast-paced, high-pressure game they have implemented, and the head coach intimated that more players would be brought in for the series of events due to take place from December to February.

Investec SA team for Dublin: Nicolene Terblanche, Lillian du Plessis (both Northern Blues); Lenise Marais, Kelly Madsen (both KZN Coastal Raiders); Sanani Mangisa, Marsha Marescia (capt), Lisa Deetlefs, Bernadette Coston (all Southern Gauteng); Lesle-Ann George, Tanya Britz, Izelle Lategan (all Free State); Illse Davids, Shelley Russell, Tarryn Bright, Lauren Penny, Jade Mayne, Quanita Bobbs (all Western Province); Sulette Damons (North West).

Source: Jonathan Cook / SA Hockey