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SOUTH AFRICAN HOCKEY ASSOCIATION PRESS RELEASES


All copy used on this page has been issued by the SAHA Executive Committee or the office.

lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes23 January 2001Under 21 Women Play England and Holland
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes10 January 2001Under 21 Men Play Holland
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes6 December 2000SAHA HAS NEW PRESIDENT
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes16 August 2000WOMEN'S JUNIOR SERIES AGAINST FRANCE
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes26 July 2000WOMEN'S HOCKEY - CHALLENGING TIMES AHEAD
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes20 July 2000STRONG TEAM FOR YOUTH GAMES
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes18 July 2000CASTLE LITE ANNOUNCES INCENTIVES FOR SAHA'S ANNUAL AWARDS
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes14 July 2000SPAR Championships: Women's Hockey in the Spotlight
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes6 July 2000SA Junior (U20) Men's Team Heads For Spain
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes29 June 2000STATEMENT BY THE SA MEN’S HOCKEY PLAYERS’ ASSOCIATION
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes29 June 2000SAHA'S REPLY TO NOCSA RESPONSE
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes22 May 2000Men’s Hockey In The Spotlight
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes16 May 2000Debut of EASY-NTOMBI SA Women's Team at Champions' Trophy
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes2 May 2000Men - 6th Africa Cup of Nations     Late change added
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes26 April 2000Accsys paves the way to Sydney and beyond for the Protea women's hockey team
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes22 March 2000International Men's Hockey
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes8 March 2000FIH Statement
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes14 February 2000FIH President Juan Angel Calzado Issues Press Statement
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes12 February 2000SA Men's Team Arrives in Egypt
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes9 February 2000NOCSA Media Release
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes20 January 2000Women's Team Announced for International Series
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes18 January 2000Women's International Series
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes20 October 1999Players Honoured
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes16 September 1999AHF Council
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes15 July 1999Castle Lite Announces Incentives for SAHA Annual Awards
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes30 June 1999SA Men's Hockey - Gearing up for the All Africa Games
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes24 JuneMen's Hockey - Tough Task to Defend Title
lbball2.gif - 100 Bytes24 June 1999SA Women's Hockey Aims High for Sydney

UNDER 21 MEN PLAY HOLLAND

The South African Under 21 (men) team will meet in Cape Town from the 13 - 20 January 2001 where they will compete in 3 (three) International matches against The Netherlands under 21 team.

These matches are part of the team's preparation for the Junior Africa Cup which is to be played in Pretoria during March 2001.   A victory in the Junior Africa Cup will provide automatic qualification for the Junior World Cup in Australia in October.

After the recent squad training camp in December 2000, the selectors have made one change to the team that toured Spain due to the non-availability of Thami Tsolikile (cricket) and have brought in the exciting Western Province player Mtutu Mzizi.

The matches against The Netherlands will be played at the Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium on Wednesday 17th (18:30); Friday 19th (18:30) and Saturday 20th (16:30)

Team:   Bruce Grant (Captain), Ian Symons (v-captain), Reece Basson, Jodax Beaumont, Grant Clarke, Francois du Plessis, Iain Evans, Dale Isaac, Grant James, Gareth Matthews, John McInroy, Lyndon Mungur, Mtutu Mzizi, Greg Pitt, Ryan Ravenscroft, Gary Royston, Ryan van der Riet, Barry John Wilson. Management:   Andre le Roux (Manager), Kevin Sutcliffe (Coach), Paul Revington (Assistant Coach).

For further information please contact Paul Richards at the SAHA office (011- 485-1108/9).
UNDER 21 WOMEN PLAY ENGLAND AND HOLLAND

After a 3 day training camp the following players were selected for the National Under 21 women's team to compete against the Under 21 teams of England and Netherlands.

The matches all take place at the Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium in Cape Town from 21 to 30 January 2001.

The South African team will use these matches in preparation for their participation in the 4th Junior World cup tournament which is to take place from the 14-26 May 2001 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

SA SQUAD:  Grazyna Engelbrecht (SG) Cathy Cutten (WP) Tarryn Hosking (BOR) Kim Tucker (SG) Kate Hector (WP) Elfrieda Maas (Nor) Melissa Rankin (SG ) Marsha Marescia (KZN) Leanne McNally (KZN) Sharne Wehmeyer (SG) Sophie Mayer (SG) Bronwyn Ross (KZN) Dalene de Kock (SG) Abigail van Schalkwyk (NW) Andrea Gordon (NW) Mareska van der Merwe (FS) Tarryn Laurie (WP) Mugelane Geswindt (WP) Lisette Bester (NW) Elsa Lombard (NW)

Matches: 21st vs England
22nd Netherlands
25th Netherlands
26th England
27th Netherlands
29th England
30th England
SAHA HAS NEW PRESIDENT

The recently elected Executive Committee of the South African Hockey Association held their first meeting in Johannesburg.  The Executive Committee elected Charles K. Smith as the new President and Sheila Brown as his deputy.  Smith's election to the position of President of the Association heralds in a new era for hockey in South Africa, as it will be the first time this position is occupied by a black person.  The meeting was unanimous in expressing its gratitude to both Clare Digby, the immediate past president of the SAHA and John Donald a member of the previous executive committee for the yeoman services they have rendered to South African hockey.

The SAHA is committed to face all challenges with an open mind and make work of addressing all hockey issues, especially those concerning the transformation process.  A clear commitment was given by the Executive members to making the sport of hockey inclusive, while the operations and administration of the game will be transparent and accountable to all its constituents.  The affordability of the game as well as the lack of suitable facilities in particularly the disadvantaged hockey communities will receive top priority from the committee.

A well balanced and cost effective international programme for the elite athletes as well as an intense and measurable development programme is on the cards for the 2001 season.  A re-look at the performance agreement between hockey and the National Department of Sport is envisaged in an effort towards hastening the process of selecting more representative national teams.

Hockey will do everything in its power to restore faith in the sport after the recent debacle around the non-participation of its national men's team at the Sydney Olympic Games.  The sport's immediate focus is on qualification for the junior men's team for the Junior Men's Hockey World Cup in Hobart, Australia.  The junior women's team has already qualified for the Junior Women's World Cup in Buenos Aires.  Preparation for both these teams start in earnest during January 2001, with competition arranged against both Holland and England in Cape Town.

Charles K.Smith
President
WOMEN'S HOCKEY: FRENCH ON TOUR IN SA

The French women's national squad arrives in Johannesburg on Friday 18 August.   Announcing the tour party's arrival, Clare Digby, President of SAHA, said:  "The French Hockey Federation (FFH) has been awarded the Women's World Cup Qualifier in September 2001.  As host, France has the automatic right of entry to the event and will be bidding for a place in the next Women's World Cup scheduled for Perth in November 2002.

Discussions about their possible visit to SA began in March this year when the FFH started to look for training and competition opportunities for their squad in preparation for the Qualifier.   Initially, we thought it might be possible to schedule one or two matches against our women's senior national side but dropped the idea in view of the Easi Ntombis' commitments against Spain and Argentina.  We could still fixture-in a training game on either 30 or 31 August once our players assemble for the holding camp prior to their departure for Sydney, but we will play this by ear."

The itinerary provides for four matches against local provincial teams Northerns, Southerns and North West, and two games against the SA Junior (U/20) Squad.   With the exception of captain Tarryn Laurie, the SA selection comprises players drawn from Gauteng, KZN and neighbouring provinces.  Other players currently in the national U/20 high performance squad in contention for the Junior Africa Cup and Junior World Cup (in Buenos Aires in May 2001) were not considered either for reasons of injury or cost.   Said Clare Digby:   "It is a pity that we could not assemble the entire squad due to budget constraints.   The decision to select an invitation team of sixteen players was not taken lightly and the exclusion of certain players will not in any way impact on their involvement in future events.   France has an experienced line-up and it will be interesting to see how some of our top juniors perform."
Women's Hockey:   Challenging Times Ahead

The South African women's hockey team's preparations for the Sydney Olympics get underway at the beginning of August - the Easi Ntombis take on Spain in a five test series at home then travel to Buenos Aires for a further five matches.

Said SAHA President, Clare Digby, in confirming the itinerary:  "We had originally hoped to host a four nations in South Africa in the final build-up to the Olympics.   New Zealand, the USA and Spain were all keen when we approached them during the Olympic Qualifier in March this year, but in the end, the United States surprisingly failed to make the cut and New Zealand opted to compete in a series in Australia.   However, things have turned out well - Spain and Argentina are in the other half of the draw for Sydney and will provide the right level of competition at this stage.  Both NOCSA and the team's title sponsor, Easi-HR, have invested in the August programme and we greatly appreciate their support."

The Spanish team arrives in Johannesburg late on Sunday 30 July but will head into the series well prepared having just hosted a tri-nations in Terrassa against South Korea and Great Britain.   Spain's coach, Marc Lammers, hails from the Netherlands and is destined for the top job with the Dutch women's national team when Tom van't Hek steps down after the Olympics.  Kingpins in the visitors line-up include captain Sonia de Ignacio-Simo, Carmen Barea, Sonia Barrio, Mar Feito and Maider Telleria who between them have in excess of 700 international caps.

The Easi Ntombis are captained by Karen Roberts who has made 126 international appearances - a local record.   Vice captain Kerry Bee, with 118 caps, also brings a wealth of experience to the team.   Head coach Gene Muller is looking forward to the series:   "Spain finished fourth behind New Zealand, Great Britain and Germany at this year's Olympic Qualifier and will present tough opposition.   We last played against them in May 1998 and won both matches but they are on their way up in the world standings and are a much better outfit now."

The itinerary for the SA / Spain series:
Tuesday 1 August   18.00   Randburg
Thursday 3 August   17.30   Potchefstroom
Friday 4 August   18.00   Randburg
Sunday 6 August   15.00   Randburg
Tuesday 8 August   18.00   Randburg

The SA side will continue in training at the end of the series against Spain before flying out to Argentina on 12 August for a ten day tour.
STRONG HOCKEY TEAM ANNOUNCED FOR YOUTH GAMES.

The girls hockey team to compete in the Millenium Commonwealth Youth Games in Scotland next month, was announced on Tuesday at the U18 Girls' Championship in Port Elizabeth last week.

The tournament which forms part of the first ever Commonwealth Youth Games, features Australia, Scotland and Canada and should provide formidable opposition to the South Africans.

Clare Digby, President of the South African Hockey Association, was upbeat about the team's chances of winning a medal.

"There has been a steady buildup in the preparation of the U18s for the Youth Games.   We competed against Zimbabwe in January, held an intensive training camp in March and provided fierce competition for the 16 places in the team," said Digby.

The girls hockey team is the last of seven sports forming part of the South African Commonwealth Games Association's (SACGA) team to Edinburgh where 13 other countries will assemble on 9 August.

The other sports are Athletics, Gymnastics, Fencing, Swimming, Weightlifting and Tennis.
CASTLE LITE ANNOUNCES INCENTIVES FOR SAHA'S ANNUAL AWARDS

Castle Lite, the official beer supplier to SAHA, will again provide cash incentives for SAHA's Annual Awards.

The prestigious SAHA Awards are made at the end of each year - this year's function is scheduled for Friday 17 November.

SAHA, in conjunction with the sponsor Castle Lite, has allocated the incentives as follows:

Province of the Year:           R5 000
To encourage the Provinces to run hockey in a well-organised and professional way and to implement sustainable Development Programmes, this award will be presented to a Province that adheres to a range of disciplines and criteria set by SAHA.

Development Projects of the Year:           R10 000
Development Projects are vital to sustain the game at Provincial level and to achieve SAHA's objective of transforming the sport and taking hockey to previously disadvantaged communities.   Provinces that implement successful projects will stand in-line to win awards and utilise the proceeds to put back into hockey.

Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the Year:          R20 000
On the basis of the recommendations of the national selection panels, Castle Lite will sponsor each of the men's and women's players of the year to the tune of R7 500.

In addition to these awards, a player from each of the men's and women's national teams that represents what Castle Lite stands for - healthy life style and seeing the lighter side of life - will receive R2 500.  These players must have contributed to the success and spirit of the national teams and will be chosen on the basis of recommendations made by the managers and coaches of the respective teams.

The criteria for the media awards are as follows:
Journalist of the Year (Electronic Media):          R10 000
This award is for radio and television journalists (including producers) who show an understanding and love of the game through accurate reporting and extensive coverage and in these ways, contribute to the development of hockey in South Africa.

Journalist of the Year (Print Media):          R10 000
This award is for the journalist who shows an understanding and love of the game through accurate reporting and extensive coverage and in these ways, contributes to the development of hockey in South Africa.

Photo Journalist of the Year (Print Media & TV):          R5 000
The award will go to the best-published hockey photograph or outstanding television coverage of hockey by a particular photo journalist.

Clare Digby, President of the South African Hockey Association, expressed her thanks to Castle Lite for again contributing cash incentives to SAHA's awards programme.

"The incentives will assist in continuing to motivate members of the media to promote the sport of hockey on a national basis. The cash on offer to players and the provinces will give them heart and incentive to strive for top honours."
SPAR CHAMPIONSHIPS: WOMEN'S HOCKEY IN THE SPOTLIGHT

The Spar Interprovincial Tournament gets underway at the Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town on Sunday 16th July.   This is the fifth year of Spar's association with the event and with women's hockey at club level.

The format of the competition takes on a new look, with the number of competing teams increased from 8 to 12, including Border, KwaZulu Natal Mynahs and Witwatersrand.   These three sides have earned promotion from the Spar President's Cup, formerly the IPT B.   The SA Junior (U/20) Team is the fourth new entry and very welcome addition.   The team was selected at the junior championships at the end of April this year and their participation under the guidance of ex international and coach Ros Howell forms part of their preparation for the Junior Africa Cup of Nations in October 2000.   Victory at these continental championships will guarantee South Africa a place in the Junior World Cup in Argentina in May 2001.

It's too soon to make predictions about the likely fortunes of all the competing teams.  Last year's winners, Southern Gauteng, have been drawn in Pool A and are likely to encounter their strongest opposition from North West and the SA Juniors.   Local favourites Western Province will be looking to fend-off challenges from the likes of KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Province in their bid to head Pool B prior to the play-offs scheduled for Friday 21st July.  The finals and presentation ceremony take place on Saturday 22nd July.

There is an added dimension to the Spar championships this year - team and individual performances will be under the close scrutiny of the national selectors who are charged with the difficult task of finalising the squad for the Sydney Olympics come the end of the week-long event.  Only sixteen players can make the cut for the Games and competition for final places will be tough.


SA Junior (U20) Men's Team Heads For Spain

The South African Junior Men's Team leaves Johannesburg today, 5 July, for a two week tour to Madrid.  The side will take on first division club CD Complutense in two practice games before contesting a series of matches in the week of 10-15 July against France, England, Spain and The Netherlands in the build-up to the European Cup of Nations.

Clare Digby, SAHA

STATEMENT BY THE SA MEN’S HOCKEY PLAYERS’ ASSOCIATION

Confirmation of NOCSA’s decision not to send the South African Men’s Hockey Team to the Olympic Games and the team’s subsequent replacement by Argentina announced by the International Hockey Federation late last week has been met with huge disappointment by the players.

Over the past four months, they have remained patient, and hopeful, that NOCSA’s decision to exclude them from the Olympics would be reconsidered and reversed.   The announcement of the replacement signals the end of the road for the players who now have to accept that they will not be going to Sydney and that no further steps can be taken to effectively change this.

Tony Irish (the players’ representative):
“I was co-opted to the Executive Board of SAHA in May and attended the IOC meeting in Rio.  From a player’s point of view it is difficult to understand, or to accept NOCSA’s decision.   The clear reasons given for the decision in February were firstly that NOCSA was not satisfied that the team would finish ninth or better at the Games and secondly that NOCSA did not believe that there were sufficient black players in the team.   However, NOCSA’s perception of the strength of the team was not based on any objective evidence or criteria and neither SAHA nor any relevant international hockey organisation was ever consulted over this.   Furthermore the team hadn’t yet been selected in February and we don’t believe that NOCSA were even aware of the number of black players in the training squad from which the team would have been selected.  At the time, the training squad in fact contained seven black players all of whom stood a realistic chance of being selected in the final team of 16 to go to Sydney.  It’s very disappointing for all of the players concerned.


What is a matter of real and serious concern for the future is that eight senior players have now indicated that they intend to retire from international hockey.   These players have almost 900 international caps between them.   They include Craig Jacson the national team captain, Greg Nicol, who many believe to be the best striker in world hockey, Brian Myburgh, South Africa’s world class goalkeeper, and Gregg Clark, who has more than 170 international caps and is the most capped player in South African hockey history.   The country can’t afford to lose these players but they are extremely disillusioned. One has to appreciate that there is little or no money to be made in playing hockey.  The guys play for pride and to represent their country at the highest level.   The Olympics is the ultimate for a hockey player.   The reaction is understandable.  Dreams have been shattered."

Craig Jackson (the national captain):
“Many of the players are very disillusioned at the moment.   We have trained so hard and performed very well over the last two years.   Many sacrifices have been made by players. Some had contracts to play overseas but we took a decision as a team, after winning the Continental Championships last year, at the All Africa Games, that we would all remain in South Africa to train and play together in preparation for the Olympics.   We are the only country to be excluded despite being Continental Champions.  The Olympic Games is all about Continental participation.   Now no-one will represent Africa in Men’s Hockey at these Olympics”.

The South African men finished 10th out of 12 at their first Olympics in Atlanta.  At that time the players were relatively young and inexperienced. For example the six players who formed the core of that team at Atlanta, and who would again be competing at this Olympics, had a total of 300 international caps between them.   Now those same players have a combined total of almost 800 caps. The team is vastly more competent and experienced.  In the two year period before February 2000 the team won 27 out of 42 internationals, drew 5 and lost only 10.   Some of their victories were over countries such as Australia, India, England and Canada all of whom will be at Sydney.  Australia are widely tipped to win the gold medal.

Thami Tsolekile (Western Province cricketer who is in the national training squad)
“Having earned my first senior international caps at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Zimbabwe, I was really looking forward to an opportunity to compete at the Olympics for South Africa.   It is the highest achievement in hockey.   I’m young enough to be able to participate in the next Olympics but I don’t know what will happen with future cricket commitments.   You can’t go to the Olympics for cricket.  Also sometimes in sport you only get one opportunity like this”.
Men’s Hockey In The Spotlight

SAHA's REPLY TO NOCSA's RESPONSE

In The Matter Of The Appeal Against The Decision To Exclude The South African Men's Hockey Team From Participating In The Games Of The XXVII Olympiad

1.   Background To This Reply
        1.1 The South African Hockey Association (SAHA) presented its appeal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in accordance with provisions of the Olympic Charter and through the International Hockey Federation (FIH), on 11th April 2000.

        1.2   The National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) presented its response to this appeal to the IOC on 8th May 2000.

        1.3   The FIH presented its statement to the IOC on 8th May 2000. The FIH supports the entry and participation of the South African Men's Hockey Team ("The Team") in the Sydney Olympic Games.

        1.4   This document contains SAHA's replying representations to NOCSA's response having regard to the FIH's statement.

        1.5   This reply will deal directly with the issues as raised under the headings in NOCSA's response.

2.   Re: Selection Policy For The Olympic Games
        2.1   NOCSA has set out its selection policy and states that this policy adopts the principles of Quality and Universality as expounded in the Olympic Charter.   SAHA does not dispute the selection policy and endorses the principles of quality and universality.  SAHA does not however believe that NOCSA has properly or fairly applied the selection policy nor does NOCSA have any proper basis to conclude that the Team does not meet standards in quality or universality.

        2.2   The Team qualified for selection to the Sydney Olympic Games by winning the 1999 All Africa Games (AAG) which was the designated continental qualifier.   Therefore as stated by the FIH in its statement, it has met criteria of eligibility.   The Team did so with players most of whom would be selected to participate in the Olympic Games. The composition of the Team in qualifying for selection must therefore have been acceptable to NOCSA at the time of qualification.

        2.3    NOCSA's selection policy sets out the standard against which it intends to measure quality in respect of the Team.  On page 6 of its Guidelines (annexure B to its response) it states that "NOCSA must be satisfied that the Men's Team will be ranked at least 9th in the Games".   NOCSA's decision that it is not so satisfied is not fairly or objectively based.   It has failed to put forward any facts relating to the Team's performance or to state on what this decision is based.  It has failed to put forward any evidence of consultation with the FIH or any other international hockey experts over either the quality of the team or its ability to finish 9th or better at the Games.   It is clear from the FIH's statement that it considers the Team to be of such quality as to justify participation.

        2.4   NOCSA's only apparent justification for exclusion on the basis of quality is its contention that hockey in Africa is weak.  SAHA disputes this contention in so far as men's hockey is concerned and points out that winning the AAG was recognised by NOCSA as a basis for qualification.

        2.5  Annexed to this reply (Appendix 1) is a schedule of the Team's recent results from which it can be seen that it has beaten, and has had favourable results over, a number of the other teams who will be competing at the Games.

        2.6  NOCSA also seeks to rely on an alleged admission by the President of SAHA, Ms Clare Digby ("Digby"), that hockey in Africa is weak and that the Team would not finish 9th or better.  This is not correct and is untrue.   Digby and SAHA have always contended for the relative strength of men's hockey in Africa.  Annexed (Appendix 2) is a copy of an affidavit (sworn statement) by Digby setting out the correct events of her meeting with NOCSA on 8th February 2000 insofar as they relate to discussion on the Team.

        2.7  Annexed (Appendix 3) to this reply is a memorandum from Digby to NOCSA explaining that the correct qualification passage for the Team is through the designated continental qualifier, being the AAG, and that the winner of the AAG could not compete in any other Olympic Qualifier.   It is submitted that this is because there is general recognition that the Team which wins the AAG is of a sufficiently high quality to warrant participation in the Olympic Games without having to play in other qualifying events.

3.   Re : Communication With The FIH and SAHA
        3.1   SAHA accepts its acknowledgement made in communications that qualification by winning the AAG was the first step and that the selection process would thereafter have to follow.  SAHA contends however that once there has been qualification through the recognised qualification channel any decision on selection thereafter by NOCSA must be fairly and properly founded given the principles contained in the Olympic Charter.   These principles include participation, quality and universality.

        3.2    In order for there to be a fair and proper decision taken by NOCSA there should have been proper prior communication and consultation both with SAHA, the African Hockey Federation (AHF) and FIH and any other relevant body.  Such prior communication and consultation did not take place.   Digby was called, on a few hours notice, to the meeting with NOCSA on 8th February 2000 at which she was informed of the decision not to select the Team and was further told that this was not negotiable.   Reference in this regard is made to the affidavit of Digby in Appendix 2.

        3.3  NOCSA's decision not to select the Team was confirmed in a letter to SAHA on the following day, 9th February 2000.  A copy of this letter is annexed (Appendix 4).

        3.4  NOCSA communicated its decision to the FIH (Appendix 5) without having any meaningful prior communication or consultation with that body.  The FIH would have been an appropriate body with whom to consult over the quality of the Team and its prospects of finishing in 9th place or better.

        3.5  NOCSA's references to communications with SAHA over media reports reveal the extent of NOCSA's dissatisfaction with such reports and its unjustified contention that SAHA and/or the Team were in some way to blame for the publicity which selection matters were receiving. Annexed to this reply is a letter from NOCSA to SAHA dated 25th October 1999 (Appendix 6).  Notwithstanding that SAHA and the Team were not to blame for any adverse publicity, SAHA adopted a responsible attitude by giving assurances and undertakings to do whatever it could to minimise such publicity.   A copy of NOCSA's letter to SAHA dated 24th November 1999 is annexed (Appendix 7) containing a response to these assurances.   SAHA has at all times conducted itself responsibly and constructively.

4.  Re: Qualification Via Africa
        4.1  Insofar as NOCSA is contending that hockey in Africa is not of a high standard and therefore that the Team's success is no basis to judge the quality of the Team, SAHA replies as follows:
                4.1.1  Men's hockey and women's hockey must be judged separately in the context of Africa.
                4.1.2  Men's hockey is of a sufficiently high standard in Africa and winning the AAG is a significant achievement.
                4.1.3  NOCSA's contention regarding the standard of hockey in Africa is not based on any objective measurement or criteria.   It is accordingly an arbitrary view.
                4.1.4  NOCSA's comparison of men's hockey to other sports mentioned in its reply in the African context (eg. rowing, badminton, canoeing, equestrian) has no basis or justification.
        4.2  NOCSA's suggestion that SAHA accepts that men's hockey is not of a sufficiently high standard is incorrect and it has put forward no evidence of this. In this regard SAHA refers to the affidavit and notes made by Digby in Appendix 2.

        4.3  NOCSA's apparent suggestion, through its unsubstantiated quotation by Mr Hardev Singh Khular, that SAHA and South African hockey do not interact with Africa and do not play a constructive role in Africa is rejected by SAHA.   In this regard a document from the AHF is annexed (Appendix 8) which sets out the importance of hockey in Africa, South Africa's role in hockey in Africa and the contribution that it has made.

        4.4  It is submitted that the universality principle, as contained in the Olympic Charter, is one that must be applied in the context of Africa.   If the Team does not compete in the Olympic Games, Africa will be denied participation in the field of Men's Hockey.  NOCSA has, incorrectly, applied universality only to the issue of race and has ignored its application in the context of Africa.   It has furthermore not consulted with the AHF over this issue.

5.  Re: The Issue Of Race
        5.1  NOCSA's representations on the issue of race suggest that for certain sporting disciplines race is not an issue at all (eg. rowing, canoeing, swimming) if competitors are of a high international calibre.  NOCSA has put up no evidence at all that justifies its contention that the Team is not of high international calibre.

        5.2 SAHA accepts the principle that the Team should contain players of sufficiently high standard from different racial groups.   One of the reasons for this is that the Olympic ideal gives sport a role to play in placing it "at the service of the harmonious development of man with a view to encouraging the establishment of a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity".

        5.3  NOCSA's decision not to select the Team was made prior to the final selection of the Team to participate in the Olympic Games.   Accordingly, NOCSA was unable to judge the racial make-up of the Team at the time of its decision.   Furthermore, it did not consult with SAHA over racial representivity in the Team prior to its decision.

        5.4  The training squad from which the Team would be selected to participate in the Olympic Games in fact contains seven black players.   NOCSA did not appraise itself of this information prior to taking a decision.   Reference to Digby's affidavit and notes in Appendix 2 confirms that she informed NOCSA of the racial make-up of the training squad after being informed of NOCSA's decision and NOCSA's reaction was to state that its decision was "not negotiable".   When Digby asked what its racial requirements were, she was informed that its was too late and this would constitute tokenism.

        5.5  SAHA entered into an agreement with the South African Ministry of Sport and Recreation on 30th November 1999.  A copy of this agreement is annexed to this reply (Appendix 9).   The purpose of the agreement is to ensure transformation in sport and racial representivity in hockey in South Africa.   SAHA has fully complied with the spirit and word of this agreement.   NOCSA has not consulted with either SAHA or the Ministry of Sport over this initiative in the context of the Team and participation of the team at the Olympic Games.

6.  SAHA Has Exhausted Its Other Remedies
        6.1  SAHA has brought this appeal only after exhausting all other possible constructive avenues in which it has sought to get NOCSA to reconsider its decision on the participation of the Team at the Olympic Games.   It has also requested the Ministry of Sport to intervene and followed all other possible means prior to this appeal.   The Ministry of Sport supports the Team's inclusion in the Olympic Games.  Annexed to this reply (Appendix 10) are copies of correspondence between SAHA, the FIH and NOCSA and SAHA and the Ministry of Sport in this regard.   NOCSA has steadfastly refused to reconsider its decision.

7.  Conclusion
        7.1  The Team qualified for selection to the Olympic Games through the designated continental championship (the AAG).   This is generally considered by all, except NOCSA, to reflect a sufficiently high standard and quality.

        7.2  NOCSA has refused to select the Team to participate in the Olympic Games using quality and universality reasons.   It is unable to provide any basis for its decision on these issues.

        7.3  NOCSA's decision is arbitrary and taken without the benefit of consultation with SAHA, the FIH, AHF or any other relevant body.   NOCSA's decision may be motivated by inappropriate and unfair considerations.

        7.4  NOCSA's decision is prejudicial to hockey in South Africa and in Africa.   It offends the Olympic ideal.

        7.5  The Team's participation in the Olympic Games is supported by the FIH, the AHF and the Ministry of Sport of South Africa.
        7.6  The FIH sets out good reasons in its statement in support of its contention that NOCSA's decision offends the Olympic Charter.

        7.7  SAHA must approach the IOC with this appeal having constructively exhausted other remedies.
Signed and dated at Johannesburg this 18th day of May 2000.
Men’s Hockey In The Spotlight

The South African men’s hockey team successfully defended their title as Africa champions with victory over Egypt in the final of the 6th Africa Cup of Nations played in Bulawayo on Saturday 20 May.   This achievement earns South Africa automatic entry into the next World Cup in Malaysia in 2002.

Reports from coach Giles Bonnet indicate that the final was an “unruly affair”, with the South Africans running out winners, 3 goals to 2, against their ill-tempered rivals.   Mike Cullen, Craig Fulton and Greg Nicol scored for South Africa.  The bronze medal was won by hosts Zimbabwe who defeated Ghana in the play-off for third and fourth positions.  Nigeria finished fifth ahead of Namibia and Uganda.

The players who did duty at the Africa Cup of Nations will have a week’s break before turning out for their provincial teams at the Nedbank Shield, the premier men's competition on SA Hockey’s domestic calendar.  The Nedbank Shield gets underway in Durban on Sunday 28 May and will feature twelve teams, including the recently announced SA Juniors (U/20s).   The semi-finals and finals will be staged on Saturday 3 June 2000.   (The match schedule is attached).

Through all of this, the issue of the men’s team’s participation in the Sydney Olympics remains unresolved.   In mid April, the SA Hockey Association (SAHA) lodged an appeal to the IOC against NOCSA’s decision to exclude the team.  The IOC agreed to consider the case, called for further written submissions from all the parties – SAHA, the International Hockey Federation and NOCSA – and has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday 24 May in Rio de Janeiro, during the IOC Executive Board meeting, 24-26 May.

Clare Digby
President
EASI-NTOMBI'S TO DEBUT AT PREMIER GLOBAL HOCKEY EVENT

Tuesday, 16 May 2000
A virtually unchanged side from that which toured Argentina at the end of April has been announced to take on the top five world-ranked women's hockey teams at the Champions Trophy in Holland.

Lindsey Carlisle is the only switch in the Easi-Ntombi's line-up, replacing Taryn Laurie in the defence.   Said head coach Gene Muller "Lindsey has been a key member of the team for the last four years and we need to establish her level of match-fitness and give her the best possible chance of selection for the Olympic Games in September."

The Champions Trophy is one of the premier tournaments on the global hockey calendar outside of the Olympics and World Cup, and this will be the first time that a South African team has been invited to attend.   The women's event will be held in Amstelveen, on the outskirts of Amsterdam, from May 26 until June 3, 2000.

The Champions Trophy was previously held every alternate year, but is now staged annually.   Australia took top honours in 1999 in Brisbane, with the Netherlands placing second, Germany third, Argentina fourth, New Zealand fifth and South Korea sixth.

MEN'S HOCKEY - 6th Africa Cup of Nations

The South African men's hockey team for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Bulawayo (13th - 20th May) was announced in Johannesburg today.

The team contains one new cap in Thami Tsolekile.   He had an outstanding week for Western Province at the recent men's U/21 national championships and was named Player of the Tournament in recognition of his all-round performance.

Craig Jackson will captain the side that will be without the services of top keeper Brian Myburgh and Justin King, who has been ruled-out through injury.

To date, seven countries have confirmed their participation in the Africa Cup - Egypt, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria and Uganda, along with hosts Zimbabwe and South Africa.   The tournament has added status as the winner will gain automatic entry to the next World Cup scheduled for Malaysia in 2002.   Surprisingly, neither Kenya nor Malawi have yet entered although both competed in last year's All Africa Games.

SA Squad:   Craig Jackson (SG 123 caps), Clyde Abrahams (EP 41), Warren Bond (KZN 47), Kevin Chree (EP 127), Gregg Clark (KZN 166), Mike Cullen (KZN 132), Wayne Denne (WP 59), Steve Evans (KZN 35), Craig Fulton (N 100), Chris Hibbert (EP 13), Bruce Jacobs (WP 4), Brenton Key (SG 83), Simon Martin (WP 4), Brad Michalaro (SG 116), Gareth Murray (SG 65), Greg Nicol (KZN 124), Emile Smith (N 35) & Thami Tsolekile (WP -).
Team Officials:   Giles Bonnet (Coach), Rob Pullen (Assistant Coach) & Wendell Domingo (Manager).
Non-travelling Reserves:   Darren Gallagher (NM), Brian Myburgh (WP), Jody Paul (EP), Justin Rosenberg (SG), Brett Tucker (SG), David Viney (NM) & Rorie Wilson (SG).

Rorie Wilson has been called up to replace Kevin Chree in the SA men's team for the Africa Cup of Nations in Bulawayo later this month.   Chree has had to withdraw due to business commitments.

Fixtures for the Africa Cup will be released shortly by the organisers. Wednesday, 26 April 2000
Accsys paves the way to Sydney and beyond for the Protea women's hockey team
The sixth-ranked South African Women's senior hockey team will be undertaking a tour to Argentina in May made possible by funds provided by a new title sponsor, Accsys - a leading information technology company.

The team will depart for a two-week visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Saturday, 29 April returning on 10 May 2000.   During their stay, the players will take on the fourth ranked Argentineans in four official matches scheduled for 3,4,7 and 8 May.

According to Dick Bradley, managing director of Accsys, "It is encouraging that our commitment to women's hockey has borne fruit so early in the relationship.  We have agreed to a yearlong sponsorship, but pending the success of the relationship with the team and the South African Hockey Association (SAHA), we will consider renewing our sponsorship agreement for a further year.

"We identified that there was great synergy with Easi-HR, our range of human resources software products, and the women's hockey team.   None the least of which is, that the sponsorship and our Easi-HR range aim to achieve the successful development of skills.   It is our goal that through our support, we will have better assisted the ladies to fine-tune their preparations for the forthcoming Olympic Games and beyond.

"Their ranking places them near the top of hockey playing nations globally, and with the support that our sponsorship can provide, there is every chance these ladies will make it into the medal playoff's at the Olympics," said Bradley.

The tour of Argentina is part of a preparation programme established by SAHA jointly with the team's officials in October last year, but only likely to have seen implementation with the procurement of a title sponsor.

"When we first thought about the schedule it was with the Champions Trophy in mind.   The National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) announced that the women's team would be selected for the Olympic team to Sydney on 9 February.   Until then, we had to focus on the Champions Trophy as our most important event for the year," said Clare Digby, president of SAHA.

She said that the programme also included the internationals played against Great Britain and the Netherlands earlier this year.   "Without Accsys, we could barely plan participation in the Champions Trophy.   Now with this sponsor on board, SAHA can move ahead with its full schedule that includes several training camps, and a possible Three or Four Nations tournament in South Africa in August."

Digby said that the team management had decided to wait out the Olympic qualification process to determine the international teams most suitable to approach for games in the run up to the Champions Trophy.

"We deliberately set out to secure matches against teams of a similar strength. We have competed against most of the top guns in the recent past.   In addition, we will most likely meet them at the Champions Trophy, and later again at the Sydney Olympics.   It was most opportune that with our new-found sponsor's help, we were able to accept an invitation to visit the National Sports Centre in Buenos Aires courtesy of the Argentina Hockey Association," said Digby.

However, Digby quickly pointed out that the team announced at the press conference held in Johannesburg today, was not necessarily the team that would go to the Champions Trophy later in May or the Olympic Games.   "The Argentina tour will provide a great test for the players and its management.  While we are confident we will do well, it is also a much needed opportunity to get the players match fit.   They have not participated in any international competition since early February, and the tour will be a good dip test as to where we are at in terms of our current preparations."

The 18-strong team announced by SAHA will be captained once again by the ever-popular Karen Roberts returning from an eight-month absence during which she was recovering from a knee operation.   Having also missed the 1999 All Africa Games due to the injury, Roberts will no doubt be keen to get back into the fray.

Other players will achieve milestones during the forthcoming tour: the striking Alison Dare should attain her 100th cap, and Jacqui Geyser and Karen Symons their 75th caps.

One notable omission in the team announced, is the stalwart Lindsey Carlisle who has been out of action since after the All Africa Games due to a stress fracture.   According to Digby, it remains to be seen if she recovers sufficiently from injury to become a serious contender for the Champions Trophy team.

The Proteas have only toured Argentina once before in 1994, when they were invited to participate in a Five Nations tournament along with the USA, England and Australia.   Since then, the Proteas have met the Argentineans on several occasions, but never again in that country.

The South Africans last played Argentina in a three-way series at home in March 1998.   The third team was India.   The Proteas drew their first game against Argentina in that series 1-1, beat them 3-2 in the second test, and then lost the third game 1-3.

"It is a tough call to predict how we will perform on this tour.   We are not as well prepared as we would have liked due to a lack of competition.   I am only too delighted that Accsys has provided SAHA with this sponsorship at this crucial time," said Digby.

"Together with the support we receive from NOCSA and the National Department of Sport and Recreation, we can now move a long way down the line to ensuring that the players are given the best possible chance of performing at their best at the Champions Trophy and ultimately the Olympic Games in September."

"We hope today's announcement by Accsys is the start of a long and mutually rewarding relationship."

Accsys' announcement means that it joins the existing official technical suppliers to the team: Mercian, Adidas and Smith & Nephew/ Elastoplast.

International Men's Hockey

The South African men's hockey team for the upcoming Four Nations in Sydney and Perth (6 - 16 April) was announced in Johannesburg today.  All four teams - hosts Australia, South Africa, Germany and India - are at different stages of preparation for major events this year.   In South Africa's case, the tournament is a critical part of the team's build-up to the 6th Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for Bulawayo 13 - 20 May.   The winner of the Africa Cup gains automatic entry to the next World Cup in 2002.

Craig Jackson captains the tour party which also includes seasoned internationals Brian Myburgh and Justin King who were not available for the last trip to Egypt in February.   Their return means that both Simon Martin and Rorie Wilson miss-out on selection this time round.

The tournament gets underway in Sydney on 6 April - for the first round of matches - and ends in Perth on 16th April.
SA Squad:    Craig Jackson, Brad Michalaro, Gareth Murray, Brenton Key (SG), Brian Myburgh, Wayne Denne, Steve Evans, Bruce Jacobs (WP), Chris Hibbert, Clyde Abrahams, Kevin Chree (EP), Warren Bond, Gregg Clark, Mike Cullen, Justin King, Greg Nicol (KZN), Emile Smith, Craig Fulton (N).
Giles Bonnet (Coach) & Wendell Domingo (Manager).

Non-travelling Reserves:   Darryn Gallagher, Simon Martin, Jody Paul, Justin Rosenberg, Brett Tucker, David Viney, Rorie Wilson.

For further information contact Clare Digby on telephone (011) 4843950 or the SA Hockey Office (011) 485-1108/9.


Men's Olympic qualifiers currently confirmed at six

Brussels, Belgium - The International Hockey Federation stated today, that while discussions are still being held between the South African Hockey Association and South African sports authorities regarding the participation of the South African men's hockey team in the Sydney Olympic Games, the FIH will continue to adhere to its existing Olympic qualification procedure.

Therefore, unless or until such time as it may be necessary to confirm otherwise, the number of teams from the men's Qualifying Tournament for the Olympic Games that automatically qualify for the Sydney Olympic Games will be six.   The remaining six teams will be considered reserve teams, in order of their finish, should the replacement of an already-qualified country be necessary.   All 12 teams participating at the tournament, which begins tomorrow and concludes 20th March in Osaka, Japan, have received this information from the FIH.

It has been widely speculated in the media that seven teams from the Qualifying Tournament would automatically earn a berth at the Sydney Olympic Games.   This speculation is a result of NOCSA's recent announcements on the initial selections for the South African Olympic Team for Sydney, which did not include men's hockey.   The men's hockey team, which had already qualified automatically under FIH regulations as All Africa Games winners, was excluded from selection on the grounds that it did not meet NOCSA's stipulations on quality and universality.

8th March 2000
Issued by the FIH
Mary C. Coyle Communications Manager
Phone: +32 2 219 4537, Fax: +32 2 219 2761
e-mail: Comm@FIHockey.org
FIH PRESS RELEASE (14 February)

FIH President Juan Angel Calzado has issued the following statement in the light of the decision by the National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) to exclude the South African men's hockey team from the SA Olympic Team despite the fact that the SA men's hockey team had automatically qualified for Sydney 2000 as the All Africa Games champions under the FIH qualification system.   Mr Calzado states:

"The decision by NOCSA is extremely disconcerting and I sympathise with all those in South African men's hockey who are most certainly disappointed.

I have been in close and direct contact with SA Hockey Association President Clare Digby, as well as other appropriate authorities on the matter.  Obviously the hockey family would like to see the decision reversed and if there is a way to achieve this, we will do our utmost to find it.

I am most disappointed that NOCSA, in full knowledge of the FIH qualification system, allowed the South African men's team to participate in the qualifying tournament - the All Africa Games - as a prerequisite to qualification and now after having qualified and some five months later, NOCSA is prohibiting the team from participating in the Olympic Games.

The South African NOC has explained in detail publicly its reasoning behind its decision to send the women's hockey team, also African Games champions, to the Olympic Games, but not to send the men's team.   Its reasoning is based on their principles of quality and universality.   NOCSA has stated it does not feel the South African men's team is capable of finishing in the first nine places in Sydney, and therefore does not meet its quality criteria.   Neither does NOCSA feel the team meets their standard of universality, which NOCSA defines as "representivity (sic) from the formerly disenfranchised community."

The FIH certainly appreciates the special circumstances surrounding Olympic selection in South Africa.   However, NOCSA's policy is in conflict with the qualification system of the sport's world governing body, a system which has been approved by the International Olympic Committee.

The FIH qualification system is based on the IOC's principle of universality, which aims to achieve reasonable global participation for the purposes of development.   The FIH system, in line with this philosophy, gives automatic entrance to Continental Games champions.   As a result of the decision by NOCSA, there will be no African representation in the men's Olympic hockey tournament.   This is a major blow to the development of the sport in South Africa and the African Continent.   In this instance, we feel the principle of Olympic (geographic) universality should be the overriding consideration.

Moreover, with respect to the standard of quality, it is worth noting that the South African men's hockey team made a first ever appearance (as Continental champions) at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, finishing a creditable 10th out of 12 teams.

The International Hockey Federation will continue discussions with the South African Hockey Association and NOCSA in an attempt to achieve a favourable solution to the situation."

14th February 2000

SOUTH AFRICAN MEN'S TEAM ARRIVES IN EGYPT


The SA tour party arrived in Cairo early yesterday for two days training prior to the start of the Akhbar El Yom Championship.  The South Africans face India in the opening match on Monday 14th February.

The SA team will again be led by Craig Jackson but is without top 'keeper Brian Myburgh and defender Justin King.   Bruce Jacobs who plays his club hockey for Central in Cape Town earns his first national call-up.

The full squad is: Craig Jackson (112 caps), Chris Hibbert (9), Simon Martin (2), Warren Bond (36), Craig Fulton (90), Brad Michalaro (105), Gregg Clark (155), Gareth Murray (54), Emile Smith (25), Mike Cullen (121), Clyde Abrahams (33), Greg Nicol (113), Wayne Denne (48), Kevin Chree (117), Brenton Key (73), Steve Evans (24), Rorie Wilson (5), Bruce Jacobs (-). Officials: Giles Bonnet (Coach), Wendell Domingo (Manager), Rob Pullen (Assistant Coach), Winston Baatjies (Physio).

Clare Digby, SAHA
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE OF SOUTH AFRICA - MEDIA RELEASE


The South African women's hockey team and the SA men's baseball team have been named as the first members of the South African Team to compete at the Olympic Games in Sydney in September this year.

This was announced at a media conference today by Sam Ramsamy, President of the National Olympic Committee of South Africa.

The two teams are the first members of the South African Olympic Games Team to be announced, and they will attend the first of the two NOCSA training camps in Cape Town 2 - 5 March and in Durban 29 June - 2 July.

Other sporting codes which were named by Ramsamy to attend the first training camp in Cape Town as potential team members are: Archery, athletics, canoeing, cycling, swimming, tennis, shooting, sailing, taekwando, boxing, rowing, table tennis and wrestling. Other sports, such as football, are still involved in the qualifying stages and could participate in the second training camp.

Ramsamy said: "I am proud and excited to announce that the SA women's hockey team and the SA men's baseball team are the first members of the team that will represent South Africa in Sydney.
Our national women's hockey team has shown lots of guts and commitment in qualifying for Sydney, and the team meets NOCSA's assessment criteria and we believe they have the ability to be successful at the highest level.

The national men's baseball team thoroughly deserve their team selection because they have qualified and they also meet the universality criteria of both NOCSA and the International Olympic Committee."

Ramsamy said that NOCSA was applying a two-tier selection policy of elitism and universality, as laid down by the IOC and this policy had been unanimously adopted by NOCSA's Federations in April 1998.   "We will be sending a high quality team and under no circumstances will quality be sacrificed.  This, however, does not preclude universality selections based on potential and the demographics of South Africa."

Ramsamy said the names of further team members would be announced at appropriate times, with the final deadline being 31 July.

The team would leave on 3 September and this would provide adequate time for the team to overcome the effects of jet-lag before the Games begin on 16 September.

Ramsamy said: "NOCSA has for some time had in place an extensive "Operation Excellence" programme which is aimed at sending a formidable team to Sydney.   We have provided basic funding for all our Federations. In addition, Vodacom, one of NOCSA's Partners, will contribute special incentives for medallists:   R1 million for gold, R500 000 for silver and R250 000 for bronze.   Team sports and relay teams will share equally in the event of winning an incentive.  These incentives will be the highest at the Sydney Olympic Games, even taking exchange rates into consideration."

Ramsamy said team members would receive the best available equipment and clothing, as well as effective technical, medical and administrative support.

"I can also assure everyone that we will not tolerate any concealing of injuries, and the team will also be dope-free when it leaves for Sydney.   I must also warn that we will not be taking any holiday makers, as was the case in some instances at Barcelona and Atlanta.   Team members who do not comply with team discipline will face sanctions and might even be sent home.  The theme of the team will be "Simunyane - We Are One" and we are determined to make South Africa a most proud nation during the Olympic Games of the Millennium in Sydney."

"None of this would have been possible without the unstinting support of NOCSA's Partners and the whole of South Africa owes them a big vote of thanks.   They are: Vodacom, Volkswagen, Telkom, Reebok, Metropolitan, Nedbank, SA Airways, Boehringer Ingelheim."

BEE TO CAPTAIN NEW-LOOK SA WOMEN'S HOCKEY TEAM

The South African women's team for the upcoming series against the best of The Netherlands and Great Britain was announced in Cape Town today.

The team includes two new caps in Jennifer Jones of Eastern Province and Riette Laas from Northerns.  Carina van Zijl, Michele MacNaughton and Taryn Laurie return after missing out on selection for much of last year.   With Karen Roberts and Lindsey Carlisle unavailable for the series due to injury, Kerry Bee has been appointed to lead the side with Karen Symons as deputy.

For the full team list, see the National Team News

The eight match international series gets underway at the Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town at 18h30 on Tuesday 25th January.
WOMEN'S HOCKEY SQUADS HEAD FOR CAPE TOWN

The Netherlands and Great Britain women's hockey squads arrive in Cape Town on the weekend of 22/23 January for training camps and a series of international matches.

The touring squads are well into their preparations for this season:   The Dutch are gearing up for the Champions Trophy (which they host in May 2000) and they have qualified for the Sydney Olympics by virtue of winning the European Nations Cup late last year.   The GB squad has just competed in a four nations in Barcelona, along with Spain, Germany and Ireland, and face a tough assignment at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament scheduled for Milton Keynes in late March.   The women's OQT will be contested by ten teams (China, Germany, GB, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Spain & USA), with only the top five finishers guaranteed places at this year's Olympics.

The SA women's high performance squad assembles in Cape Town today and will be put through their paces by head coach Gene Muller.   The 30-strong squad will be cut to 18 players come Thursday 20th January - the final selection could see some new caps or the return of a number of seasoned internationals who were not available for duty during the latter part of last season.   The home side will, of course, be without the services of long-standing captain Karen Roberts who is still recovering from a knee injury.   The SA camp was dealt a further blow over the weekend with the news that stand-in skipper Lindsey Carlisle has also been forced to withdraw from the trials and series due to the recurrence of a leg injury.   Had she been available for the upcoming series, Lindsey would have notched-up her 100th test cap.

The Itinerary:   All eight matches will start at 18h30 and take place at the Hartleyvale Stadium.   Details as follows:
Tuesday 25 January RSA vs Netherlands
Thursday 27 January RSA vs Great Britain
Friday 28 January Netherlands vs Great Britain
Saturday 29 January RSA vs Netherlands
Monday 31 January RSA vs Great Britain
Tuesday 1 February Netherlands vs Great Britain
Wednesday 2 FebruaryRSA vs Netherlands
Friday 4 February RSA vs Netherlands

Tour Squads:
SA Women's High Performance Squad: Jennifer Jones, Kim Meyer (EP), Hanneli Arnoldi, Caryn Bentley, Ladonna Bentley, Jacqui Geyser, Taryn Laurie, Michele McNaughton, Bronwyn Ross, Dominique van der Berg, Jenny Wilson (KZN), Riette Laas, Susan Wessels (Northerns), Abigail van Schalkwyk, Inke van Wyk, Carina van Zijl, Melinda Vos (North West), Caroline Birt, Pietie Coetzee, Sharon Cormack, Alison Dare, Luntu Ntloko, Karen Symons, Paola Vidulich (Southerns), Marilyn Agliotti, Kerry Bee, Megan Dobson, Natalie Haynes, Johke Koornhof, Anli Kotze (Western Province).

For further information contact Clare Digby on telephone (011) 4843950 or 0829012292 or the SA Hockey Office on telephone (011) 4851108/9.

SA HOCKEY STARS HONOURED

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) recently announced the introduction of awards for the International Players of the Year to recognise the achievements of the world's top performers, men and women.   The first edition of the awards will be presented late October 1999 in Alexandria, Egypt, as part of the FIH's 75th anniversary celebrations.

The South African Hockey Association (SAHA) is pleased to announce that both Greg Nicol and Karen Roberts are among the contenders for the inaugural awards.

Other nominees include:   The Netherlands' Stephan Veen and Carole Thate, Australia's Jay Stacey and Alyson Annan, Russel Garcia and Karen Brown of England, Eun Young Lee of Korea, Atif Bashir of Pakistan and Mandy Smith of New Zealand.

Three South Africans, ace strikers Pietie Coetzee and Greg Nicol, and midfielder Caryn Bentley, have also been selected for the FIH President's World Elevens to play in exhibition matches in Alexandria on the occasion of the anniversary celebrations.   Due to injury, Karen Roberts was not considered for selection.

The President's Elevens feature the world's best, drawn from all five continents, against Olympic Champions Australia in the women's match and Netherlands in the men's game.   Both matches take place on 27th October 1999.

Other players selected for the "dream teams:"

Men's World XI:   Damon Diletti (Australia), Sohail Abbas (Pakistan), Juan Escarre (Spain), Baljit Singh Dillon (India), Mirnawan Nawawi (Malaysia), Rudolfo Perez (Argentina), Florian Kunz (Germany), Peter Milkovich (Canada), Marc Coudron (Belgium) and Brett Leaver (NZ).

Women's World XI: Britta Becker, Heike Latch and Natasha Keller (Germany), Karen Brown (England), Tracey Fuchs (USA), Karina Masotta (Argentina), Mandy Smith and Robyn Mathews (NZ), Sita Gussein (India) and Ilsa Coetzee (Zimbabwe).
 


AHF COUNCIL ELECTIONS

At a meeting of the AHF Congress held in Johannesburg on 16 September, the following were elected to hold office on the Council of the AHF for a 4-year term ending in 2003:
President:Gamal Shirazi (Egypt)
Senior Vice-President:Mr Steve Jaspan (RSA)
Second Vice-President:Mr Pete van Zyl (Zimbabwe)
Hon. Treasurer:Mr Seif Hamid (Egypt)
Hon. General Secretary:Mr Gavin Stephens (Zimbabwe)
Assistant Secretary:Mr Krishna Acuthan (Malawi)
Additional Members:Ms Margaret Akofiso-Sowah (Ghana)
 Mr Oko Nikoi Dzani (Ghana)
 Chief Austin Izagbo (Nigeria)
 Dr Laurie Jubber (Namibia)
 Mr Charles Smith (RSA)

Clare Digby, SAHA 
      

NIGERIA WITHDRAW

The week-long speculation about Nigeria's withdrawal from the men's and women's hockey competitions has proven to be true:   At a meeting with tournament officials at the Randburg Stadium today, a spokesman for the Nigerian delegation confirmed the teams' exclusion from the group of athletes finally selected for the AAG.

TD Vijayanathan has expressed his regret at the late notification of their withdrawal and has approved changes to the fixtures.   Revised match schedules will be issued by the SA Hockey Association tomorrow, 9 September.

It is a great pity that the matter could not have been resolved sooner in a more proactive way.

Clare Digby, SAHA
Popular SA Hockey Captain Roberts Injured

The SA Hockey Association and the SA All Africa Games Team Management have announced that Karen Roberts, captain of the SA women's hockey team participating in the 7th All Africa Games next week, has withdrawn from the event due to injury.   Roberts has an anterior cruciate tear and undergoes surgery tomorrow, Friday 3 September.

Said Clare Digby of SAHA:   "This is a huge blow and a great disappointment for Karen.   We have prepared really hard for the Games which serve as a qualifier for Sydney.   Karen is a world-class player but I'm confident that we have the depth to achieve gold.   Lindsey Carlisle has been asked to take over the captaincy and Kerry Bee will replace her as vice-captain.   Jacqui Geyser, who has 64 international caps to her credit, has been called-up as Karen's replacement."

"We are disappointed to lose a player of the stature and experience of Karen Roberts.   She is a strong leader, and in the past has played an important part in rallying the team, not only the hockey players but also the other athletes.   She was 'captain of captains' at the Commonwealth Games last year.   We wish her a speedy recovery and at the same time we welcome Jacqui and would like to wish Lindsey and Kerry all the best in their new positions of leadership in the team" said Gideon Sam, Chef de Mission of the SA All Africa Games Team.

Issued jointly by the NSC and SAHA, 2 September 1999


4 August 1999


CASTLE LITE ANNOUNCES INCENTIVES FOR SAHA'S ANNUAL AWARDS

Castle Lite, the official beer supplier to SAHA, announced additional cash incentives for SAHA's Annual Awards at a press conference held today at the South African Hockey Association's Head Office in Johannesburg.

In addition to the media awards announced in March this year, Castle Lite have allocated a further cash injection towards the prestigious SAHA Awards made annually in November.

SAHA, in conjunction with the sponsor, Castle Lite have allocated the incentives as follows :

Province of the Year:     R7 500

In order to encourage the Provinces to run smooth, professional and organised hockey, together with a sustainable Development Programme, this award will be presented to a Province that adheres to the criteria as set out by SAHA.

Development Programme of the Year:     R7 500

Development Programmes are vital at Provincial level in order to achieve SAHA's objective of taking the sport of hockey to previously disadvantaged communities.   Provinces that implement successful programmes will stand in-line to win this award and utilize the money to put back into their programmes.

Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the Year:     R20 000

Castle Lite will sponsor R5000 each for the existing Ros Howell/John Marquard Awards for the sportsman and sportswoman of the year on the basis of inputs from the National Selectors.

In addition to these awards, there will be R5000 each awarded to a national team member (men's and women's) that represents what Castle Lite stands for - healthy life style - awarded for seeing the lighter side of life.   The team member must have contributed to the success of the spirit of the national team.   These recipients will be chosen by the respective team managers and coaches.

The criteria for the media awards that were announced earlier this year remain as follows :

Journalist of the Year:     R15 000

This award will be for the hockey journalist (radio, television or print) that shows an understanding and love of the game via accurate reporting and extensive coverage contributing to the development of hockey in South Africa.

Photographer of the Year:     R10 000

This award will go to the best-published hockey photograph or outstanding television coverage of hockey by a particular cameraman.

Clare Digby, President of Hockey South Africa, once again expressed her thanks to Castle Lite for the additional cash contribution into SAHA's awards programme.

"The awards that were announced earlier this year assisted in motivating members of the media to promote the sport of hockey on national level.   Now these additional awards will assist SAHA in motivating the Provinces to administer the game in a professional manner and to promote effective development programmes, thereby assisting SAHA in achieving its national objectives.   It's fantastic that we can now offer some rewards to our top players".


SA MEN'S HOCKEY - GEARING-UP FOR THE ALL AFRICA GAMES

A squad of 23 players will assemble in Johannesburg on Monday 5 July under the watchful eye of head coach Giles Bonnet for a week-long training camp and two test series against Zimbabwe.

The squad sees some changes from those that did duty against Australia in March and in the tri-series in Argentina over Easter.  Said Bonnet: "This is a training exercise.   Following a three month lay-off from international competition, some players have been competing abroad, others have been seen in the Nedbank National Hockey League run during April and May and a few are out recovering from injury.   We need an opportunity to take stock and test the physical condition of a group of players who are in the running for selection for the All Africa Games.   Final selection will only take place after the Interprovincial Tournament (the Nedbank Shield) in Port Elizabeth in the week of 20-24 July.   The selection panel has not come to firm conclusions at this stage.   We have recalled defender Grant Fulton and introduced two talented keepers in Chris Hibbert and Simon Martin in favour of Brad Milne and Gregor Maier.   Brian Myburgh is recovering from injury.   David Viney, Jody Paul and Greg Heger have also been called-up based on their consistent performances in the NHL".

Commenting on the forward programme, Clare Digby of the SAHA emphasised that the men's team faced some tough challenges.   Winning the AAG is a necessary first step to consideration for the Olympics in Sydney 2000.   Egypt and Kenya, in particular, stand in the way to our successfully defending our title as continental champions.   The upcoming camp and series against Zimbabwe has been agreed to as part of the squad's preparations.   This will be followed by a five test series against India during the period 9-21 August at the revamped Randburg Stadium.

The full squad for July is:
Brenton Key, Brad Michalaro, Gareth Murray, Rorie Wilson, Craig Jackson (Southern Gauteng), Wayne Denne, Steve Evans, Simon Martin (WP), David Viney, Darryn Gallagher (Natal Midlands), Grant Fulton, Craig Fulton, Emile Smith (Northerns), Kevin Chree, Chris Hibbert, Clyde Abrahams, Jody Paul, Greg Heger (EP), Greg Nicol, Warren Bond, Justin King, Mike Cullen, Gregg Clark (KZN).

In addition, six Gauteng-based top junior players have been selected as train-ons for the camp:   Jonathan Martin, Kuks Mathele, Justin Rosenberg, Thami Tsolekile, Brett Tucker and Sean Wilson.

The tests will be played at Parktown Boys High School at 15.30 on Thursday 8 July and Saturday 10 July.

Issued by the SA Hockey Association, 30 June 1999.



MEN'S HOCKEY - TOUGH TASK TO DEFEND TITLE

The SA men's hockey team faces a huge challenge defending their title at the All Africa Games (AAG) on home ground in September.

At stake is a passage to next year's Olympic Games for whoever wins the gold medal.

The SA men's team received a baptism of fire at the Atlanta Olympics four years ago, where they were placed 10th out of 12 teams.

"The standard of play in African men's hockey is high so our team is in for very stiff competition especially from Egypt, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Nigeria," said South Africa Hockey Association (SAHA) president Clare Digby.

Following a training camp at Technikon Pretoria in March, a team was selected to play their Australian counterparts in a five-match test series in Pretoria, Potchefstroom and Cape Town.

Although the team opened the series on a winning note, they lost all four subsequent matches.

At Easter the team competed in Buenos Aires in a Four Nations contest featuring two teams from Argentina, England and South Africa.   They won three games drew one and lost three.

The domestic season culminates in the Nedbank National Championships in Port Elizabeth from July 20-24.   Then the final team of 16 for the AAG will be selected. "We will also host India in five test matches from August 9-21", Digby said.
Mark Ouma, Sportsday: 24 June 1999



SA WOMEN'S HOCKEY AIMS HIGH FOR SYDNEY
The South African Hockey Association (SAHA) has to pull out all the stops to ensure that the women's team retains its title at the All Africa Games (AAG) in September.
Winning gold at the AAG is the first step towards realising the dream of participating in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.   They aim to be the first team from Africa to play in the Olympics after Zimbabwe won gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

"Our strategy since winning the Africa Nations Cup in Zimbabwe last year has been to build depth in the team.   While four years ago we could count some 12 first choice players, today we have 20-24 players who can make the team. Such strong competition to make the first eleven is healthy and ensures that the standard of play remains high." said Clare Digby, president of the SAHA.

"Last year, there were a number of international competitions in which players were given vital exposure.   This is why I think we are better prepared for this year's games than four years ago.   I do not see any team beating us although we will not underestimate our principal rivals, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

"From February 17-21 we held a squad training / selection camp in Pretoria for 34 high performance players.   A team of 18 was selected to play a series of five test matches against World, Olympic and Commonwealth Champions, Australia.   We hosted these matches in Cape Town, Potchefstroom and Pretoria where the team put up a great show before the Aussies edged us out, winning the series by 3 games to 2.

"At the end of April, we went to Australia for a Four Nations tournament which featured the hosts, India, South Korea and South Africa.   We finished second to the Aussies, winning four games and losing the other two.   What is important is that we finished ahead of India and South Korea who are ranked in the top 10 in the world," Digby said.

For the past two months the focus has been on the Spar National Hockey League.  The domestic season will culminate in the Spar National Championships at Technikon Pretoria from July 27-31.

"From August 13-21 we will host a Tri-Nation series against Zimbabwe and Wales at the Randburg Stadium.   This is our final tune-up for the AAG.   We want to get used to the new artificial surface on which we will defend our title", Digby said.
Mark Ouma, Sportsday: 24 June 1999


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