The experienced Jessica O’Connor, with 124 caps to her name, has been named captain of the SPAR South Africa women’s team to compete in the FIH Hockey Indoor World Cup in Pretoria in February.
The prestigious global event, presented by SPAR, is being held outside of Europe for the first time and the SPAR SA team will compete against 11 other nations in the women’s division.
The tournament, which also involves 12 men’s teams, will be played at the Heartfelt Arena from February 5 to 11.
Through the support of SPAR, the women’s indoor hockey programme has been a shining light in the sport in SA and O’Connor has several experienced players to back her up as they strive to make an impact at the World Cup.
Other team members with more than 50 caps to their names are Celia Seerane, Jamie Southgate, Cheree Greyvenstein, Edith Molikoe and Robyn Johnson.
The team also includes the 2020 interprovincial player of the tournament Jess Lardant, as well as Tegan Fourie, who netted her 50th international goal in just her 42nd Test match recently against Ireland in Cape Town. Kayla de Waal, Daniela de Oliveira, Nepo Serage and Laiken Brisset complete the 12 players who will make up the team.
Head coach Lennie Botha was optimistic as he assessed their chances for the world event. We have had a wonderful programme over the past eight years with tremendous support from SPAR,” he said.
“It has allowed us to develop a team that we believe will represent the country proudly on the highest possible stage of indoor hockey.
“We went through a rigorous process to determine the final 12 but we believe we have selected a team that can challenge the best in the world, as we have previously shown we are capable of.”
The SPAR SA side will open their campaign with two tough European opponents in Austria and the favorites Netherlands. They will then take on the US before completing the pool stages against the Oceania duo of New Zealand and Australia.
Tickets are on sale for the events and can be purchased at https://itickets.co.za/events/470639
Daniella de Oliveira
Kayla de Waal