South Africa Indoor Hockey Women began life after Jessica O’Connor and Lennie Botha on Tuesday in Malaysia. The team are participating in the six team Tuanku Zara Cup under the leadership of AJ Spieringshoek for the first time.
Spieringshoek had used the opportunity to increase the depth and in the opening game against the hosts Malaysia the team featured seven debutants. Malika Hamza, Cailynn den Bakker, Kelsey Swanepoel, Bonolo Moabi, Sarah Paget, Gabriella Terblanche and Emily Macquet all sang their national anthem for the first time with the senior squad. It was also the first time that Jamie Southgate captained the team, much to the delight of her family.
South Africa showed a bit of the inexperience in the opening exchanges but Malikah Hamza opened the scoring for her first international goal. South Africa doubled when a slight deflection from Kelsey Swanepoel diverted the ball in. Malaysia fought back with a stroke and it was 2-1 at the break. Within a minute Tegan Fourie re-established the one goal lead with her 56th international goal. Malaysia would net a late goal but it was nothing more than a consolation.
Despite a 3-2 win, South Africa would have felt frustrated at the lack of ruthlessness shown and would be keen to improve on that in the afternoons game against New Zealand.
The two team had met in the World Cup where South Africa won 6-3. This time out the South Africans clicked early and put the Kiwis to the sword. They scored twice in the first two quarters. De Waal netting from a penalty corner before Cailynn den Bakker scored her first International goal. Emily Macquet followed suit before Tegan Fourie made it 4 at the half time break. A third quarter blitz with a brace from Hamza and Fourie and De Waal scoring again made it 8-0 with 10 remaining.
The final quarter played out with a very much “job done” feel as the New Zealanders did their best to not have the gap extended and the South Africans contained effectively sealing the game 8-0.
With the win South Africa take the initial top spot with two games remaining at time of release. The team will return to the court on Thursday when they play another two games with a chance of securing a top 2 spot and with that would be a place in the final on Saturday.
Tuanku Zara Cup – Day 1 Results
South Africa 3-2 Malaysia
Australia 5-0 New Zealand
Namibia 1-5 Switzerland
South Africa 8-0 New Zealand
Still to play
Australia vs. Switzerland
Namibia vs. Malaysia