SA women to step up - coach
Johannesburg - Head coach Giles Bonnet was frank in his assessment of the SA women's hockey team after their 2-1 defeat to Belgium in the first Test on Monday, and has promised a better showing in the second international in Cape Town on Wednesday.
"We made too many ball-handling errors and as a result performed extremely poorly," said the Amsterdam-based Bonnet, a former SA men's captain and coach.
"As a result we could only make one third of the normal actions there should be made in an international match.
"The team will make a marked improvement in this area in the second Test, which will allow the players to begin to measure their play in other areas on the field."
There were, nonetheless, positives to take from the opening match of the four-Test series, including a maiden international goal by 20-year-old Tuks student Lilian du Plessis, and the impressive performances by young Maties student Quanita Bobbs and debutant Christine Roos.
Bonnet said the South Africans were preparing for the World League round two event that takes place at Hartleyvale in Cape Town later this month, and had another seven days to reach the levels required for that competition. The Investec Challenge, which includes London 2012 Olympic gold medallists and world number one Holland, is also looming on the horizon.
Apart from superstars in captain Marsha Marescia and world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee, as well as former SA Player of the Year Tarryn Bright, SA are also missing two other London Olympians in Kathleen Taylor and Jen Wilson.
Marescia, Coetzee and Bright would return for the World League and Challenge events, according to the SA Hockey Association, but Wilson and Taylor were sitting them out. "The squad for this period will be selected from the players attending this period. After each quarter a new squad is selected," Bonnet said. "Therefore neither Jen nor Kath are being considered for these matches as they are not in this squad."