Now or never for SA hockey teams

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JONATHAN COOK

South Africa’s national hockey teams know what’s at stake when they go to from Nairobi, Kenya for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament September 26 to October 5.
The winners qualify as Africa’s representatives at the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands from May 31 to June 15 next year and it is the SA teams’ last chance to gain entry to the four-yearly showpiece.
The both die Protea men and Investec South Africa women’s team are in the same boat, having failed to finish in the top four in the semi-finals tournaments.
According to SA men’s coach Charlie Pereira midfielder Tim Drummond of KZN Raiders has withdrawn because of injury while double Olympian defender Andrew Cronje is out due to work commitments.
SA women’s coach for this event, Fabian Gregory, said the 18 players selected in his line-up are good to go. SA co-captain Marsha Cox and the world’s leading Test match goalscorer, Pietie Coetzee, are unavailable for this trip.
The SA men and women won the last of the biannual events in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
There will be five men’s teams at Nairobi’s City Park Stadium. They are South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Namibia and hosts Kenya. The six women’s teams are South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia and Tanzania.
The SA teams are:
Men: Rassie Pieterse (SG), Jacque le Roux (WP), Rhett Halkett (WP), Matt Guise-Brown (Northern Blues), Jethro Eustice (SG), Dylan Swanepoel (WP), Mohamed Mea (KZN Raiders), Austin Smith (capt, WP), Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KZNR), Taine Paton (KZNR), Julian Hykes (SG), Geoff Abbott (KZNR), Pierre de Voux (WP), Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP).
Women: Sanani Mangisa (SG), Hanli Hattingh (WP), Lenise Marais (capt, KZNR), Marcelle Keet (Border), Lisa Deetlefs (SG), Illse Davids (WP), Celia Evans (North West), Shelley Russell (WP), Kaila Flemming (SG), Quanita Bobbs (WP), Sulette Damons (NW), Christine Roos (NB), Jade Mayne (WP), Bernie Coston (SG), Tanya Britz (FS), Lilian du Plessis (NB), Izelle Lategan (FS), Kelly Madsen (KZNR).