South African hockey is consistently fighting a battle against itself, with Commonwealth Games preparations taking a knock due to a lack of funding.
The women’s team has been on the rise and had set their sights on cracking the top 10 in the world rankings at this year’s FIH World Cup tournament in London.
The team finished fifth at the World Hockey League semifinals recently hosted in South Africa, and they claimed their seventh-consecutive African title in Egypt, scoring 28 goals and keeping a cleansheet against the opposition.
Their stellar performances had been expected to lift them from 13th place to 11th in the global rankings, but the world governing body’s bizarre weighting in the rankings saw them drop to 14th position.
Adding insult to injury, the South African women’s team have been denied international game time ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April.
The traditional Summer Series at the beginning of the year did not take place, while a planned trip to China was also dropped.
Instead, the SA Hockey Association arranged a camp in Potchefstroom earlier this month, and they will have another one in Johannesburg before the start of the quadrennial showpiece.
South African hockey captain Nicolene Terblanche said the lack of international competition was less than ideal but they had to keep their eye on the prize.
“China would have been ideal because we would have played against them, which would have given us crucial game time,” Terblanche told The Games.
“We will be playing in the President’s Cup over the first three weekends in March, while we will also play against some of the men’s club teams during the camp.”
Proteas Women’s Hockey team:
Phumelela Mbande, Nicole la Fleur, Erin Hunter, Nicole Walraven, Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Celia Evans, Nicolene Terblanche, Shelley Jones, Quanita Bobbs, Kristen Paton, Ilse Davids, Stephanie Baxter, Ongeziwe Mali, Dirkie Chamberlain, Candice Manuel, Sulette Damons, Jade Mayne and Bernadette Coston.