SA Hockey | South Africa test German strength in opening test match
Just under a month since the South African Women’s Hockey team secured their place at the Paris Olympics by winning the African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifier, the team were back out on the turf in front of a home crowd excited to see them in action.
The South Africans welcomed back their most experienced active player Dirkie Chamberlain playing in her 242nd test match and first for the country since February 2020. On the other end of the experience spectrum was Laylaa Davids who earned her first test cap for her country, a special day for her and her family.
The Germans, ranked 5th in the world, are in South Africa preparing for their Olympic Qualifier in January and their highly experienced squad (7 centurions) would be the toughest test for the South Africans this year. South Africa themselves are ranked 20th having moved up from 21st at the Road to Paris 2024 Qualifier.
The game couldn’t have started better for the South Africans. Edith Molikoe turned the ball over in the middle of the park and quickly fed co-captain Quanita Bobbs. Bobbs showed great desire and stormed into the circle and fired a low drive into the bottom left-hand corner with the placement that would make a snooker player proud.
The Germans remained patient and had plenty of the ball, but a steadfast South African defense was proving resilient and inspired by the 1000-strong crowd at Maties. The Germans would find their equalizer through a penalty corner just before the end of the opening quarter finished off by Nike Lorenz in her 164th International.
If South Africa were possibly annoyed at anything on the night, it was the momentary lapse in concentration for Germany's second goal. While all eyes were drawn towards the striker breaking into the circle, nobody picked up Pia Maertens and the European happily obliged to give her side the lead.
Jette Fleschutz made it 3-1 to the visitors with a neat tap-in at the back post before half-time and Valentin Altenburg may have expected his charges to gallop off into the distance in the second half. They were not able to though as a fantastically battled second half tested the Germans superbly and although neither side was able to score there would have been positives in both camps at the defensive astuteness on display.
The second and final test match takes place on Sunday at 11:00 at SACS and will be streamed live on the Supersport Schools app.
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