SA Women's hockey go for olympic spot
Posted 25 February 2012 - 01:47
The national players are normally pretty committed people, who have fulltime jobs and very accomodating bosses.
even though our ladies(and men) qualified for olympic spots by winning their african championships, SASCOC made them forfeit these places and ordered them to qualify in the build up tournaments rather.
Sounds like a raw deal, but the forfeited spot would go to a much higher ranked team. Also forces our teams to play more tournaments.
the good news is that our ladies have topped the log in the first tournament, if they win the final they go to the olympics. lose and that's it for four years. They're playing the hosts India who they beat 5-2 earlier in the week.
SuperSport has acquired the rights to broadcast the Investec SA women’s hockey team’s matches in the Olympic qualifying tournament currently taking place in New Delhi, India.
With four wins and one draw from five matches, the team is guaranteed a place in the final on Saturday - a match they must win in order to secure their spot at the London 2012 Olympics.
The tournament final, featuring the top two teams after the round-robin phase, will be broadcast live on Saturday.
BROADCAST DETAILS (all times are CAT, ST, GMT+2)
Saturday, Live at 4:30pm – SuperSport Blitz (Channel 200)
8pm (delayed) – SS6
Posted 25 February 2012 - 02:00
The world number 12 Investec South Africa women's hockey team are favourites to beat tournament hosts and world number 13 India in the final of the Olympic Qualifier event in New Delhi's National Stadium at 4.30 pm (SA time) Saturday.
The gold medal match, to be televised live on SuperSport Blitz with a repeat on SuperSport 6 at 8 pm, is between two attacking teams and plenty of goals are anticipated. SA might have a slight edge with leading tournament goalscorer Dirkie Chamberlain (7 goals in last 3 matches), fellow forward Sulette Damons (3 goals in last 2 matches) and world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee (2 goals in last 3 matches) a major threat up front.
Nine goals in their last two games with three against, including a 5-2 win over India in the league phase that was closer than the score might suggest, bears testimony to South Africa's peaking at just the right time, but the X-factor could play an influential role in an outcome that will see the victors win a ticket to the London 2012 Olympic Games that take place in 5 months' time.
Captain Marsha Marescia's South Africans will be aware of the tidal wave of emotion that will be driving this Indian women's team who are bidding to become the first squad from their country to win a place in the Olympic Games hockey finals since 1980.
While cricket has for some time replaced hockey as the most popular sport in India, hockey is still of huge sentimenatal value to a population that yearns for the return of the fabulous era when their men's team dominated the world in winning eight Olympic Games titles.
Not altogether unlike South Africa, where women's sport has long lived in the shadow of their male compatriots, sport has always taken a back seat to men's sport in India and the success of their women's team today will make a massive step in the right direction towards righting that wrong.
Ticket prices hiked to three times their normal value have had a backlash effect on India's crowd support at the National Stadium but head coach CR Kumar's team can expect the best turnout of the women's event in the 8 pm (Indian time) title match while millions of their countrymen are assured of watching proceedings on TV.
The big question is, will the emotion of the occasion and the expectations of a nation have a positive or negative effect on Indian captain and kingpin Asunta Lakra's team?
South Africa has 10 players with over 100 test matches behind them and a whole host who have been in the Olympic Games before, many of whom have played in front of big crowds willing the opposition on, so the occasion is not something that should affect them. The accurate execution of their technical and tactical plans will be head coach Giles Bonnet and his team's key to the winner's podium and with it the much-prized ticket to London.
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