Marsha's girls miss medal | SASCOC - SASCOC

Marsha’s girls miss medal

South Africa’s brave display in the women’s hockey competition at the Commonwealth Games came to an end against England at the Maj. Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.

A deflected 13th minute goal from Georgie Twigg sealed the Proteas’ fate in the bronze medal play-off after some good work down the right hand flank and a cross by Crista Cullen.

But South Africa were certainly not disgraced in the 1-0 loss and can hold their heads high after fighting like Trojans to get back onto level pegging against the world’s fifth ranked side. SA, ranked 12th, launched wave after wave of attacks but England ‘keeper Beth Storry was equal to the task, coming up with a particularly fine save just before the break.

After the break England’s Kerry Williams went close in the 50th minute and also had a late chance of sealing victory after a one-on-one situation with the SA keeper but fired straight at Vuyisanani Mangisa.

South Africa’s cause was not helped when inspirational captain Marsha Marescia received a green-card warning in the 63rd minute, meaning she had to be extra cautious to avoid picking up a sin-binning.

England now continued their proud tradition of finishing on the podium for the fourth consecutive occasion at the Commonwealth Games.

In the semi-finals South Africa lost 1-0 to New Zealand and England went down by the same margin to Australia.

Meanwhile SA Hockey’s CEO, Marissa Langeni paid tribute to the national players on duty in India: “They all did really well┬áconsidering limited preparation due to little financial resources.

“I know Giles Bonnet [women’s coach] has a firm view that it is imperative, for a high success rate, that the ladies play top level competitive hockey throughout the year. This is why the top six in the world are so strong. Some of the ladies have already caught the eye of international clubs and Giles has been instrumental in promoting our players overseas.

“It’s his vision for the girls to play a minimum of 40 internationals a year.┬áThat’s what is needed to achieve the sort of results that are expected of us. This year we played just over half that number. But in order to be able to do that, we come to the old problem of funding.

“We’re so far┬áaway from the most competitive sector, namely Europe, as such it costs us an enormous amount of money to travel internationally. Teams like England could theoretically play an international every week if they wanted to. This is what we are up against.”

Shocking SASCOC!!!
Shocking SASCOC!!!

It is with truly great dismay that I read over the weekend that SASCOC is satisfied with the team’s performances and results in Delhi. The Commonwealth Games are concluding and South Africa is slowly slipping into sporting oblivion. Not through lack of effort from the athletes there but through the lack of vision, strategy and foresight from SASCOC. We are finishing with fewer medals than the previous CWG, and we are only really winning medals in swimming and para-sports. Minor nations are catching up to us at a rapid rate and with the lack of exposure given to our young athletes we will be in for even worse in 2014. SASCOC has no system in place that guarantees that South Africa will produce top sportspeople by 2014 or beyond. In South Africa we think you buy a million rands worth of soccer balls dump them in a township and that you are then going to get a million soccer players back who can play international soccer. It is time for everyone at SASCOC to either resign or to start getting with the program. Petty politics and politicians running sport at SASCOC are to blame for this dismal performance. SASCOC need to start implementing a system similar to the British, Australian or Indian systems, systems that are based on high performance, international success and accountability. We should once and for all stop throwing money at grassroots development and building multi-million rand facilities. To get the desired results at the Olympics, CWG etc. we need two things: 1.) A Talent pool that is on par with the best in the world. 2.) The best coaches coaching the best athletes. We have number one, in fact we have one of the richest talent pools in the World, across all races, and for all sports. We have a sport mad country and culture. This you cannot buy, develop or import. We have it; many, many other countries do not. Where we completely loose the plot is at number 2. We want to compete with countries that employ hordes of the best coaches around. Most of these countries have hundreds or thousands of full time coaches that coach their top athletes. Where does a nation like Britain put the majority of the government money in? Grassroots? Facilities? No, their top athletes and their top coaches. Answer this! Who wins you a medal at the Olympics? A 7 year old kid or an international athlete? Obviously not the 7 year old, so why spend money on him then? Britain have a great philosophy that goes, you do not have to spend money on grassroots, if you have international athletes who perform well enough to inspire the youth to take up the sport. Why do so many kids want to play rugby, cricket or soccer in South Africa? They all want to be Bryan Habana, Hasiem Amla or Steven Pienaar. You do not have to spend millions on them to take up the sport anyway. It did not take millions to get them to be the best in the world, they had the will, talent and good professional coaching. The British also further says that the federation (UK Sport SASCOC for that matter) must make sure that no international level athlete has any excuse when they go into competition, everything must be taken care of, because if the athlete then fails it is his or her fault and they have no excuse. SASCOC does the opposite. They support not a single coach in South Africa and a handful of athletes. Not one coach who had an athlete that was in Delhi can call themselves a full-time professional coach. How many athletes can financially do nothing else than work to becoming the best in the world? One, maybe two. So all the athletes there had an excuse, SASCOC. The good news is that it can be turned around. India has shown it. They have dramatically improved their medal tally; almost doubled it in fact in four years. If SASCOC realizes what sport is all about and what has to be done we can do the same. That will unfortunately only happen when government stop appointing politicians to run sport, and I am not sure when that will ever happen. We should in all honesty be satisfied with a hundred medals at the Commonwealth Games; we should be up there with Australia and England, and not Mr. Sam, pat ourselves on the back that we did not to worse than last time.