The Free State and South African hockey great, Nicole Erasmus (née Walraven), has decided to retire from international hockey.
The news came on the very same day that the South African women’s hockey team was announced to compete in the African Hockey Cup of Nations in Ghana in January 2022.
Erasmus played in just 52 internationals before deciding to retire from the sport at the highest level.
While Erasmus had a short international career, she also represented South Africa at the FIH World League Semi-Final, Commonwealth Games, FIH World Cup and Olympic Games.
She said it was an honour to represent South Africa at the highest level in the sport and retires with peace in her heart.
“It’s been a wonderful honour to represent my country on the global stage. To stand with my teammates and sing the national anthem is a privilege that I will forever be grateful for.
“As I begin the next phase of my life and develop my career, it is the right time for me to move aside.
“The talent coming through leaves South African Hockey in a good space, and I am excited to watch from the stands, supporting my country.
“Thank you to all my family and friends who have supported my journey!”
While one Free Stater decided to hang up her hockey stick, another has been given the opportunity to represent her country.
The University of the Free State Kovsies captain, Shindré-Lee Simmons, received her first-ever call-up to the senior national side after being included in the squad for Ghana. She is the only Free State player selected to the tournament in West Africa.
Simmons told Bloemfontein Courant that the tournament will be good way to measure her abilities.
“I think that this is a very good platform to start, especially going into a tournament like the Africa Cup of Nations.
“There you can weigh yourself up against the other African teams, and also individually, to see if you can actually play at that level. I’m very excited and now the training starts.”
When it comes to her personal goals, it will be to just to do the best she can.
“To play the best hockey I can and just to represent my country and my brand of hockey to the best of my ability.”
The African Hockey Cup of Nations will be played from 17 to 23 January 2022 in Accra.