SA women aim for ninth place
Johannesburg - Head coach Giles Bonnet will be more than satisfied if his Investec South Africa women's hockey team end ninth at the World Cup in Rosario, Argentina.
This the world's 12th-ranked South Africans could do when they take on India in the ninth-place playoff at 18:30 (SA time) on Friday. (Live on SuperSport).
In fact, had it been offered him two weeks ago, even 10th spot in this 12-team competition would have been banked by Bonnet.
Now just three months into the job, Bonnet had said in late July that he wasn't expecting any World Cup wins, just an indication the team was on the right track going forward to the Commonwealth Games in India next month.
Yet Bonnet's team shocked world number eight Spain in just their second Pool B match and were competitive.
Captain Marsha Marescia's team should have the beating of the young Indians, but fighting spirit is one thing they don't lack.
First up, India were pulverised 7-1 by world and Olympic champions the Netherlands, found wanting in a 6-3 defeat to Australia, set back by a 4-1 loss to Germany and contemplating a battle for the wooden spoon, not altogether surprising considering their number 13 ranking is the lowest in the competition.
However, like South Africa the young Indian team were capable of producing an upset, their finest moment coming in the 2-0 defeat of world
Like South Africa, India also had a shot at playing for seventh place, but New Zealand's Black Sticks stopped that with a 3-0 win in the fifth and final round of Pool A.
Yet whether fighting spirit and youthful talent will be able to withstand South Africa - is another matter altogether.