Positive Signs Despite 5-0 Hockey Drubbing

South Africa made a clean sweep to beat Namibia 5-0 in their Investec Indoor Hockey Test Series in Windhoek over the weekend.

Despite losing the series, Namibia were competitive in three of the five matches and with a bit of luck could well have won a test or two.

Besides that, they came up against an experienced and near full-strength South African side which came ninth at the Indoor World Cup in February. The Namibian team, by comparison, was vastly inexperienced with a number of players making their international debuts, while several of their top players who are studying in South Africa were unavailable since they were playing in the South African Varsity Cup hockey tournament.

Annalien Davin was playing for Stellenbosch, Jocelle Deysel for Potchefstroom and Petro Stoffberg for Wits University at the Varsity Cup, while Carla Britz was playing for Western Province U21 and was also unavailable.

Namibian coach Trevor Cormack said they came up against a very g South African side.

“South Africa brought a very g side, it was just about their full-strength team that went to the World Cup in February, so I knew it would be a tough series, but if you want to measure yourself against the best you have to play their A team.

We were very competitive in two of the matches, but we only had three weeks to prepare while our lack of experience also showed. But we also showed that we are closing the gap, and with more matches at this level we can only improve,” he said.

Namibia got off to a great start in the first test on Friday afternoon as they raced into a 2-0 lead after two goals by Maggie Mengo and Jerrica Cormack in the first three minutes. They however could not maintain their intensity and South Africa came back to win the test 5-3.

South Africa however turned on the power to beat Namibia 9-1 in the second test on Friday night, although Cormack feels that the emotion of the occasion might have got to the players.

“We held a minute’s silence for our former coach Jeanne Davin, who died earlier this year, and I think the emotion got to some of our players,” he said.

South Africa comfortably won the third test 6-2, but Namibia bounced back with a fine performance in the fourth test. They once again take an early 2-0 lead but could not close out the match and South Africa recovered to win the test 4-2.

In the final test on Sunday morning, South Africa recorded a comfortable 8-1 victory.

“Our experienced players who were at the 2011 World Cup, Marcia Venter, Maggie Mengo and Jerrica Cormack were all extremely good while Juanne Louw did very well in her first international matches. Our youngsters like Danelle van Taak, Phia Gerber and Berencia Diamond also did well,” Cormack said.

“We can only get better. In three games we were competitive and with a full squad we can definitely close the gap on South Africa,” he said.

Source : The Namibian