South Africa men gearing up for Malaysia tests
South Africa men’s hockey team head coach Charlie Pereira is anticipating an exciting series when the lads in green and gold take on world number 13 Malaysia in four Test matches over the next week, starting at 5 pm Thursday at the University of North West Hockey Centre in Potchefstroom.
“Both sides play attacking hockey, which makes for a good series,” Pereira said in a break between training sessions at UNW Tuesday. “All Asian sides like counter-attacking, are good at going forward and have very good elimination skills in one-on-ones, but we are good enough to beat Malaysia and this is the kind of competition we need.”
Pereira said Malaysia have come a long way in the last six months under former SA coach Paul Revington. “But we are at home and will fight like mad, while the conditions [high altitude] will play in our favour, especially in the first Test.”
One of Malaysia’s outstanding recent successes was the silver medal at their own Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in mid-March, where Australia’s world number two Kookaburras broke 15 000 hearts in a packed stadium with the winner four seconds from time.
Three major SA players in recent years are unavailable for the series. Defenders Lloyd Madsen (work commitments) and drag-flick king Justin Reid-Ross (one-year sabbatical from international hockey due to study commitments) as well as ace striker Lloyd “Chuck” Norris-Jones are the absentees.
“ ‘Chuck’ scored a third of our goals in Brazil [World League tournament] but is writing UNISA exams during the series, so his unavailability is a blow,” said Pereira. “But we are an amateur side [against full-time opponents] so we need 30 guys who know how to step up when needed and the beauty is that due to injury, work commitments or studies there are always opportunities opening up for new players.”
The first three Tests are at the University of North West Hockey Centre in Potchefstroom. Thursday’s first Test is at 5 pm, while Saturday and Sunday’s second and third Tests are both at 3 pm. The fourth and final Test is at Randburg Hockey Stadium at 7 pm on Tuesday, June 11.
Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Jacque le Roux (Western Province), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders), Austin Smith (WP, captain), Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues), Ashlin Freddy (WP), Rhett Halkett (WP, vice-captain), Ricky West (SG), Lance Louw (SG), Jethro Eustice (SG), Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KCR), Tim Drummond (KCR), Nic Gonsalves (SG), Taylor Dart (SG), Julian Hykes (SG), Taine Paton (KCR), Craig Haley (WP), Matt Botha (WP), Pierre de Voux (WP), Miguel da Graca (SG).
Source: SA Hockey Media ReleaseBack